Trade-offs in Supply Chain Transparency: The Case of Nudie Jeans Co
Journal article, 2015
Though transparency is increasingly central to corporate sustainability and sustainable supply chains, the scholarly conversation about supply chain transparency is limited, as it defines supply chain transparency inconsistently and lacks an empirical basis. We address these shortcomings by developing a multidimensional definition of supply chain transparency and studying the Swedish garment retailer Nudie Jeans' attempt to become “the most transparent company in the world.” We extend the scholarly conversation by analyzing how a company, in practice, attempts to work with supply chain transparency and how to explain the transparency outcomes of such attempts. We argue that three underlying tradeoffs, i.e., threat vs. collaboration, standardization vs. differentiation, and means vs. ends, shape a firm's transparency outcomes. We question whether more supply chain transparency is always desirable, and argue that managers must choose between a compliance or cooperation approach to supply chain transparency.