On Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management: What about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?


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The importance of human resources in operations management has long been established (e.g., McDuffie, 1995), and a stream of research has focused on how operations can contribute to the quality of society (e.g., Porter and Kramer, 2011; Sila, 2018). Historically, safety and health have been the main dimensions considered by organisations when setting and assessing social sustainability objectives (Pagell et al., 2016). More recently, business excellence frameworks have made efforts to embed the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the management of operations (EFQM, 2020); however, there are concerns about their capability to address different stakeholders with varying demands (de Menezes et al., 2023). Nonetheless, calls for social responsibility, the inequities highlighted by the global pandemic, and the increasing uncertainty in managing global supply chains and international operations (e.g.,  sanitary, geopolitical, and climatic crises) have placed human aspects, which had been long ignored, at the centre of operations management (Sarkis, 2020). Consequently, there is a paradigm shift in operations and supply chain management (OSCM): beyond addressing the triple bottom line, it is now necessary to consider the real needs of the people who participate in and benefit from operations (Sordi et al., 2022; Sunar and Swaminathan, 2022). In pursuit of this goal, large multinationals, such as Henkel, L'Oréal, and Schneider Electric, have joined forces in an international initiative called Business for Inclusive Growth to make a positive social impact by creating inclusive working environments. Moreover, organisations and countries are revisiting their history and developing initiatives to mitigate the negative consequences of colonialism, some of which may still be affecting global supply chains. Furthermore, by promoting diversity throughout the supply chains, organisations also respond to OSCM professionals, who have strongly expressed concerns about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and related outcomes (Gartner, 2022).   

Although DEI research on OSCM can be traced back to the late 1990s (e.g., Carter et al., 1999 ; Pullins et al., 2004),  DEI remains under-researched when compared to other topics in OSCM, since a small number of DEI-related articles have been published in main Operations Management (OM) journals over the last decade. As a whole, research on OSCM has largely overlooked the needs of minority-stakeholders, including the elderly, the disabled population, and those with unique intersecting needs. Therefore, this special issue aims to contribute to the Operations Management (OM) literature by expanding the research agenda beyond sustainable OSCM and encouraging researchers to extend their investigations into neglected areas within DEI research.  

List of Topic Areas

With this special issue, we aim to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the importance of human aspects in OSCM by focusing on DEI. To this end, we call for topically and methodologically innovative studies that have the potential to advance both theory and practice in the field. We welcome empirical research conducted at different levels of analysis, including individual, firm, dyadic, network and societal, in different contexts.  

  • The types of contributions we seek include, but are not limited to, the following topics:  
  • Drivers and barriers to improving DEI performance in OSCM; 
  • The link between OSCM performance and DEI performance; 
  • Measuring and monitoring the impact of DEI initiatives on OSCM performance; 
  • Benefits and challenges of developing diverse and inclusive supply chain relationships; 
  • Impact of cultural, historical, social, economic, and political factors on DEI practices in OSCM; 
  • The role of technology and data analytics in promoting (or hindering) DEI in OSCM; 
  • Challenges for firms in managing an ageing or disabled workforce in their operations and supply chains? 
  • Ethical implications of any exclusion of minorities in OSCM; 
  • Unintended consequences of supply chain digitalisation on DEI; 
  • OSCM strategies for equitable outcomes; 
  • OSCM practices for prioritising the needs and perspectives of minorities and promoting the UN SDGs. 


We are excited to invite researchers in Operations and Supply Chain Management and related fields to our upcoming IJOPM special issue online workshop focusing on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Join us, as Professor Priyank Arora from the Darla Moore School of Business provides an insightful overview of DEI research in OSCM and his pioneering research. Following this presentation, Marie Berranger from Galderma will explore the industry and practitioners' perspectives on the significance of DEI in OSCM. The workshop will conclude with a Q&A session, where our special issue editors will offer an opportunity for you to explore potential publications or research questions that can contribute to the special issue.

We look forward to welcoming you on 29th of January at 2pm GMT, as per the invitation below:

Please register here.

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here.

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see:  http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/ijopm

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Submissions open on: 31 May 2024 
Submission deadline: 30 September 2024 
Final decision outcome by: 31 March 2025 

Guest Editors

Byung Gak Son is a Reader in SCM at Bayes Business School, City, University of London. His research interests are mainly buyer-supplier relationships, complex supply networks and supply chain risk management. His recent work focuses on marginalised parties in a buyer-supplier relationship, investigating fairness and governance issues. His work has been published in Journal of Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, International Journal of Operations & Production Management and Journal of Supply Chain Management. 

Lilian M. de Menezes is a Professor of Decision Sciences and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Bayes Business School, City, University of London. Her research contributions range from studies of management practices, new forms of work organisation, processes and outcomes to the development of forecasting and statistical methods. Her publications include articles in the European Journal of Operational Research, Human Relations, International Journal of Production Economics, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Journal of Operations Management. She has industrial experience from working on a number of operations projects for consulting and financial organisations. 

Salomée Ruel is a Professor at EXCELIA Business School (France) and a member of the CERIIM research centre. Her research focuses on supply chain strategy, digitalisation, dynamic capabilities (resilience, viability) and social sustainability in SCM. More specifically, she studies the impact of gender diversity on supply chain performance (e.g., financial, operational, social, environmental) and how organisations can become more inclusive. Her research appeared in several international journals such as International Journal of Production Economics, International Journal of Production Research, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Journal of Business Research. Finally, she is the treasurer of the International Association for Logistics and SCM Research (AIRL-SCM). 

Adriana Leiras is a Professor at the Department of Industrial Engineering at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro - PUC-Rio and founder and coordinator of the HANDs Lab - Humanitarian Assistance and Needs for Disasters. She is an ex-officio advisor to the POMS Latin America Chapter (POMS-LA) and a former president of POMS-LA. She is also a former Regional Vice President of the Americas for POMS - Production and Operations Management Society. She also leads the MIT SCALE Latin America Network's regional research project on humanitarian logistics and relief operations. Since 2011, she has been actively involved in research and consulting projects on humanitarian logistics and disaster operations management. She has co-authored several papers published in journals, books and conference proceedings. She teaches and researches operations management, focusing on humanitarian operations management. 

Seongtae Kim is an Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at Aalto University School of Business. His main research interests include supply chain sustainability and ethics, for which DEI-related issues are crucial, e.g., in addressing mechanisms to promote social responsibility in supply chains. His work has appeared in the leading operations and supply chain management journals, including Decision Sciences Journal, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, and Journal of Supply Chain Management. 


de Menezes, L.M., Escrig-Tena, A.B., & Bou-Llusar, J.C., 2022. Sustainability and quality management: has EFQM fostered a sustainability orientation that delivers to stakeholders?. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 42(13), 155-184. 
EFQM, 2020. The EFQM Model, available at: https://shop.efqm.org/publications/the-efqm-model/  
Carter, C. R., Auskalnis, R. J., & Ketchum, C. L., 1999. Purchasing from minority business enterprises: Key success factors. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 35(4), 28-32. 
Gartner, 2022. Supply Chain Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report, available at:  https://www.gartner.com/en/supply-chain/trends/supply-chain-diversity-e…;
MacDuffie, J., 1995. Human resource bundles and manufacturing performance: Organisational logic and flexible production systems in the world auto industry, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 48(2), 197–221. 
Pagell, M., Veltri, A., & Johnston, D.A. 2016. Getting workplace safety right, MIT Sloan Management Review, 57(2), 12-14. 
Porter, M. and Kramer, M.R., 2011. Creating shared value, Harvard Business Review, 89(1-2), 62-77. 
Pullins, E. B., Reid, D. A., & Plank, R. E. 2004. Gender issues in buyer‐seller relationships: does gender matter in purchasing?. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 40(2), 40-48. 
Sarkis, J., 2020. Supply chain sustainability: learning from the COVID-19 pandemic, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 41(1), 63-73. 
Sila, I., 2018. Linking quality with social and financial performance: a contextual, ethics‐based approach, Production and Operations Management, 27(6), 1102-1123. 
Sordi, A., Tate, W.L., & Huang, F. 2022. Going beyond supplier diversity to economic inclusion: Where are we now and where do we go from here?, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 28(2), 100751. 
Sunar, N., & Swaminathan, J.M., 2022. Socially relevant and inclusive operations management, Production and Operations Management, 31(12), 4379-4392.