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Managing social responsibility in Chinese agriculture supply chains through the “a company + farmers” model

Fu, Shaoling; Zhan, YuanZhu; Tan, Kim Hua


Shaoling Fu

YuanZhu Zhan

Professor of Operations and Innovation Management


Purpose:Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has received a large amount of attention in research and in practice. As a response to the growing awareness of and concern about social and environmental issues, an increasing number of companies are integrating their supply chains and building an alliance of “a company + farmers”. The overall research question of this study is derived from the literature and is aimed at identifying factors that influence the integration of the agriculture supply chain and at exploring the relationship between these factors and quality performance.
Design/methodology/approach: The analysis is based on questionnaire survey data collected from 462 Chinese farmers under the organization pattern of “a company + farmers”. A structural equation model is applied in the empirical analysis of the relations among trust, relationship commitments of different types (normative and instrumental), supply chain integration and quality performance.
Findings: An understanding of the various influences on supply chain integration and quality performance is important in relation to CSR in Chinese agriculture. The results show that supply chain integration has positive effects on quality performance. Moreover, farmers' normative relationship commitment to the company is positively related to supply chain integration. However, farmers’ instrumental relationship commitment to the company does not significantly affect the degree of integration between farmers and companies. Furthermore, trust has positive influences on the two types of relationship commitment and on supply chain integration.
Research limitations/implications: The findings provide a theoretical basis and practice guidelines for agricultural enterprises to manage CSR under the pattern of “a company + farmers”. The results help enterprises to acquire detailed information about the entire process of agricultural production, improve the quality and safety of primary agricultural products, and enhance the competitiveness of Chinese agricultural products in the market.
Originality/value: The paper shows that enterprises working within Chinese agriculture supply chains have a long tradition of working with CSR and supports cooperation between the European Union and China on food and agriculture.


Fu, S., Zhan, Y., & Tan, K. H. (in press). Managing social responsibility in Chinese agriculture supply chains through the “a company + farmers” model. European Business Review, 29(3),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 14, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2017
Deposit Date May 16, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 21, 2019
Journal European Business Review
Print ISSN 0955-534X
Electronic ISSN 0955-534X
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 3
Keywords A company + farmers; supply chain integration; corporate social responsibility; quality performance; Chinese agriculture
Public URL
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