The governance of environmental challenges in the supply chain: The role of reflexivity and deliberation

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This research has studied how an MNC has embedded reflexivity and deliberation in the process of governing environmental challenges in its supply chain. Past research has found that current governance models were ineffective in dealing with environmental challenges. It has been indicated that this is due to the inflexibility of these governance models. That is why this research has conducted a qualitative case study to study reflexive governance in an MNC. Moreover, an abductive approach has been followed using grounded theory to analyse the data. Such an approach implies that the goal of this research was to contribute to the current theory by comparing existing theory to the data that has been collected. Moreover, the data in this research has been collected by conducting 10 semi-interviews, which were conducted with employees of OCI-N and their suppliers. Due to the abductive approach of this study, the interviews were analysed while ideas on codes already existed. To study reflexive governance in practice, four tensions were found in literature that enable reflexivity. No additional tensions could be found in literature that enable reflexivity. The other four tension were indeed found to enable reflexivity. These tensions are participatory knowledge and expert knowledge, diversity and consensus, decentralization and centralization, stability, and flexibility. Moreover, it has been found that these tensions are managed by deliberation. Deliberation was found to be able to retain the tensions in a productive manner. This implies that deliberation ensured that both sides of the tensions were able to be a driver for reflexive governance. The quality of deliberation has been measured using the Discourse Quality Index (DQI). Deliberation was found to be good, which implies that it consists of the following aspects: participation, justification, common good, respect, and constructive politics. Moreover, to add to the existing theory, four enablers of deliberation were identified in the data. These enablers are a long-term relationship, trust, transparency, and responsibility. These enablers ensured that quality deliberation could be embedded in the governance process, which in the end ensured that reflexivity could be enabled. These enablers of deliberation are very relevant to existing literature, as it illustrates how stakeholders can be embedded in the governance process. Moreover, it shows how a deliberative approach can be achieved.
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