How can suppliers increase their buyers’ CSR engagement: the role of internal and relational factors

Ye Peng, Xuan Zhang*, Dirk Pieter van Donk, Can Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Purpose: Buyer engagement proves important supports for suppliers' corporate social responsibility (CSR); however, little is known about whether and how buyer CSR engagement can be actively searched for by a supplier and what activities and policies of suppliers could enhance buyer CSR engagement. From the perspective of resource dependence theory, this study aims to explore how suppliers seek to achieve buyers' CSR engagement. Design/methodology/approach: The proposed model and hypotheses were tested by structural equation modeling methodology using survey data collected from 243 manufacturing and service firms in China. Findings: The results show that instrumental CSR motives and internalization of CSR policies jointly improve buyers' dependence, which in turn increases buyers' CSR engagement. In addition, this study investigates the influence of suppliers' trust on the effect of buyers' dependence on buyers' CSR engagement and finds a negative moderating effect on the dependence–engagement relation. Practical implications: The findings show that suppliers can actively engage in CSR to strengthen their position and improve the buyer CSR engagement. In fact, proactive CSR policies and implementation do pay off in the long run for them. Originality/value: This study offers a fresh perspective on the role of suppliers in improving CSR. In contrast to much of the literature that has considered buyer-initiated practices and policies, this is the first theoretical and empirical investigation into how suppliers can increase the buyer CSR engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-229
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number2
Early online date4-Jan-2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Buyer engagement
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Dependence
  • Instrumental motives
  • Internalization
  • Trust

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