supply chain management

To Achieve Sustainability In Supply Chain Management For Construction Industry

Section 1: Research aim(s), rationale and objectives

1A Research Aim

The primary aim is to achieve sustainability in supply chain management for construction industry. Utilization and analysis of linear, mathematical and dynamic models is crucial in making appropriate decisions.

Therefore, this study carries out an overall analysis with modelling considering the factors affecting SCM in construction industry and performing further research on modelling. Aim also includes the application reverse logistics.

1B Rationale

Nowadays, it has become essential for the firms to focus on the sustainability aspects in their business operations because of increase awareness of people in relation to environmental protection. The increasing public awareness has raised the concerns for the organizations to adopt sustainability aspects in their supply chain due to its vulnerability to the environmental demands (Ojo et al., 2014).

There are limited researches done by the scholars and researchers with focus on sustainability in supply chain especially in construction industry. Several researchers and scholars have conducted researches on this aspect but in other industries than construction.

Previous researchers have used many methodologies towards sustainability in past but those methods have limitations. It is clear that there is lack of detailed and descriptive study on sustainability on SCM in construction industry.

But this study focuses on the applications of sustainable supply chain management in construction field that provides directions to the construction businesses to adopt alternations in procurement methods and logistics to incorporate sustainability in their operations.

Hence this study fulfils this gap by focusing on construction industry to achieve the aim related to applications of sustainability practices in supply chain (Segerstedt and Olofsson, 2010).

Apart from this, the undertaken study will also focus on suitable modelling method to find the solutions regarding the research problem. The construction industry is facing issues related to resource depletion and waste management in the supply chain that has urged the demand of sustainability in SCM.

By adopting sustainability, the construction firms can reduce waste, increase productivity and optimise the resource utilization. Therefore, this study can be beneficial for the construction companies to develop their understanding of the green practices in supply chain to make sustainable supply chain management.

Apart from this, the undertaken study is significant for the discipline by contributing to the existing literature because it will add new information related to the implications of sustainability aspects in the supply chain in construction industry.

This study can be useful for the users including future scholars and students to conduct researches and upgrade their knowledge in relation to this discipline.  In addition, this study can be beneficial for the researcher to enhance the knowledge regarding the research issue and complete the academic degree in the university.

The outcomes of this study can be useful for the construction companies to incorporate sustainability aspects in their supply chain and get the related advantages in terms of brand image, cost reduction and productivity by pointing out modifications and alterations to current procurement process.

This study can also be helpful for the management of construction firms to mitigate the cost related issues by enabling sustainability.

1C Objectives

The following objectives will be accomplished after completion of this study that will be helpful to achieve the key aim of this study:

  • To identify key features influencing sustainable SCM in construction industry
  • To determine the social and environmental aspects and employing those in the model for analysis
  • Choosing suitable modelling method and finding solutions
  • To carry out a survey with experts with well-structured questionnaires and interviews
  • Draw conclusions from the surveys and arrive on decisions based on it
  • To understand the relationship between environmental, social and psychological factors
  • To identify further gap in knowledge and suggests methods

Section 2: Research plan for one year of research

2A Methodology in terms of system of inquiry

Induction:

Inductive approach is a bottom-up approach that is based on specific observations to provide general conclusions out of them. Inductive approach is useful to develop new theories based on specific observations. However, this approach is advantageous to bring something unique in the research result (Ojo et al., 2014).

The use of this approach is useful to determine what happen in future or establish the possibility what an individual will encounter. The inclusion of more observations is significant to determine how accurate the conclusion is. Apart from this, this approach lies in establishing probability that may be helpful to make decisions in advance.

This approach is also helpful to make interpretations based on specific observations that provide the generalized conclusion. This approach allows the researchers to see patterns and make observations that result in certain conclusions.

It helps them to direct to prove their conclusion to right or wrong. This approach works better in the situations when the information is incomplete (Roberts, 2013). Inductive reasoning is more appropriate for the open systems. This approach is generally used by the researchers to conduct the qualitative research.

But at the same time, this approach may cause false conclusions even with accurate observations. Apart from this, there may be possibility of wrong observations that may lead to wrong conclusions. In this approach, the logic may be sound but it may be proven wrong by further observation (Neuman and Robson, 2014).

Furthermore, this approach is based on the assumption of uniformity of nature throughout the universe that cannot be said right in every situation. In addition, this approach focuses on observation for information collection that may lead to wrong decisions.

Deduction:

Deductive approach is a top-down approach that is based on general premises and provide specific conclusion. This research focuses on the approval or rejection of hypothesis to solve a research issue. Deductive approach allows the researchers to use the already existing theories developed by any individual (Mackey and Gass, 2015).

It helps the researchers to create hypothesis towards the study. This approach allows the researcher to conduct the research that has been already been conducted and develop an idea regarding extension and addition to that theoretical foundation. This approach is generally used by the researchers to conduct quantitative research. But, this approach is criticized for its limitation of not encouraging divergent thinking. It may also limit scope of creativity.

Abduction:

Abduction approach is different from deductive and inductive approaches and considers evidences to make conclusions by selecting most likely happenings. It decides what the most likely inference can be made on the basis of a set of observations (Vaioleti, 2016).

There may be several possible explanations for a phenomenon but it is challenging for the researcher to decide which possible explanation to look at first. The use of this approach enables the researcher to find out the most likely explanation and observe whether that’s true.

If it is not true, then the researcher can move on to the next most likely explanation. This approach also allows the researchers to assess the probabilities and the strength of evidence based on substantial literature.

Justification for selection:

For this study, researcher will select deduction approach because it is helpful to assess the current theories related to sustainability including CSR theories to provide conclusions regarding the sustainability aspects in the supply chain management in the construction industry (Lewis, 2015).

The theories related to sustainability are considered in this research to upgrade the understanding of the implications of green practices in procurement and logistics of the construction field.

Apart from this, the use of this approach will be crucial to enhance reliability and validity of the research findings through analysis of quantitative data. It will be useful to provide specific conclusions in relation to construction field by analysing the generalized findings based on existing theories (Mackey and Gass, 2015).

At the same time, researcher will not focus on other approaches because there is no need to develop a new theory and no possibility of an infinite number of possible explanations for the phenomenon of sustainability.

2B Sequence of methods

Firstly, a research strategy is selected that will be helpful to develop the understanding of the research issue. For this, literature review strategy will be considered that will be helpful to develop theoretical understanding of the research topic.

This step will be helpful to develop theoretical aspects including CSR theories to understand the topic and test the hypothesis based on these theories (Taylor et al., 2015).

In next step, research design is selected that will be quantitative in this case. For collecting quantitative data, a survey through questionnaire will be used to collect primary data from the research participants.

In this study, different research participants including construction companies, contractors and project managers at construction works will be considered to know their views and perceptions regarding sustainability aspects in the construction projects.

In order to conduct survey, random sampling method under probability approach will be selected that will help to select the research participants without making any bias in selection (Neuman, 2013). Apart from this, secondary data collection method will also be used by using different books, journal articles including published and online to develop theoretical understanding of the research issue.

2C Why the sequence of methods is the most effective and appropriate

In order to address the research aims, the sequence of methods is very necessary part that plays an important role to achieve the target effectively (Schaltegger and Burritt, 2014). The sequence of methods is an effective way because it provides the views and opinions of stockholders.

It also helps the researcher to understand the research objectively to analyze the factors of cost and time variation in construction industry. So, if the researcher wants to complete the research timely than it needs to use sequence of methods. On the other side, if the sequences of methods are not followed than a researcher will face different problems such as timeline, validity, accuracy, etc.

The researcher needs the proper sequence to accomplish the research timely and provide optimal outcome (Smith et al., 2015). At the same time, the researcher needs to provide valid and accurate results of the study which should accomplish the aim and objective in an effective way.

Each method should be use in the research according to the need for providing effective result. The sequence of methods also helps the researcher by solving the difficult problems of the study by providing an appropriate conclusion. So it can be said that the sequence of methods is effective and appropriate way for research.

Section 3

Research plan for 11 week research project

On the basis of this research plan, the researcher adopts quantitative research method to obtain research information. It is because the provided research plan is based on the inductive methodology which is helpful to provide conceptual knowledge about the research topic.

The quantitative research design is also supportive for the researcher to examine different variables like time and cost (Smith, 2015). In order to collect quantitative data, the researcher adopts survey through questionnaire method that provides primary data to the research.

This questionnaire presents the research data in numerical form by collecting the data throughout close ended questionnaire. So, this method will justify the aim and objectives of the research by the use of questions related with time and cost. The collection of the data will also consider the secondary source of data where the researcher will use existing market research through journals and articles (Cohen et al., 2013).

It will be useful to increase the accuracy and reliability of the research. The quantitative method plays essential role to accomplish the research objectives in a table and graph format. With the use of this graphical representation, anyone can understand the research project quickly.

In the week 1, the research will concentrate to finalize the research topic. After this, it will be identified that what will be the aim and objective of provided research in the week 2. Additionally, the researcher should also collect different information by the use of different sources (Bryman and Bell, 2015).

In the week 3, secondary data are collected and then it should also be analyzed. In the week 4, the researcher will prepare questionnaire and define the population and distribute the questionnaire via email. The researcher will also find other participants to fill the gap after receiving the responses of existing participants in the week 5.

The researcher will analyse the primary data in table and chart format in week 6 and also interpretive them. In week 7, it will be identified that the each research objective are addressed or not then write the report (Beske and Seuring, 2014).

In week 8, the researcher will analyze the secondary data to minimize the limitation. In week 9, recommendation will be provided and in week 10, analysis whole report by reading carefully. Finally, in week 11 the report will be submitted.

In order to complete the research plan in the given timeline, the researcher can use Gantt-Chart that is helpful to demonstrate the research plan. In this, the research is able to complete the research project according to the given plan.

The below table is representing the constructed research plan for the duration of 11 weeks. This research plan also includes the different key work activates with milestones and outcomes for each week (Schaltegger and Burritt, 2014). It will be helpful to complete the research plan effectively by the use of designed period.

Area of work activities Milestones and outcome Week
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Research preparation Topic development- Finalize the topic
Background of the Research- Decide to the aims and objectives of research Defining  research gap – Development of research aim and objectives
Collection and investigation  of published sources, eBooks, journal and articles related to research topic Total review of the presented literature– Identify reasons for cost and time variation
Analyze other researcher findings – Secondary research data Completing the collection of data by secondary sources- Analyze collected data
Conducting Primary research Preparation of questionnaire
Sampling and sample size Describe the population and participants- decide criteria for number of participation
Distribution of  questionnaire via mail
Analysis the primary data Receive response – feedbacks form collected data for analysis
Distribution of data Create tables and charts of data – Start interpretation
Analysis of collected data both primary and secondary Address research objectives and aim– Identification of  limitation of the study
Write report Results and discussion – Provide recommendations
Proof-Reading
Submission for approval

References

Beske, P. and Seuring, S., 2014, Putting sustainability into supply chain management, Supply Chain Management: an international journal, vol.19, no.3, pp.322-331.

Bryman, A. and Bell, E., 2015, Business research methods, Oxford University Press, UK.

Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K., 2013, Research methods in education, Routledge, UK.

Lewis, S., 2015, ‘Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches’, Health promotion practice, vol.16, no.4, pp.473-475.

Mackey, A. and Gass, S.M., 2015, Second language research: Methodology and design, Routledge, UK.

Neuman, W.L., 2013, Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches, Pearson education, UK

Ojo, E., Mbohwa, C. and Akinlabi, E.T., 2014, ‘Green supply chain management in construction industries in South Africa and Nigeria’.

Ojo, E., Mbowa, C. and Akinlabi, E.T., 2014, ‘Barriers in implementing green supply chain management in construction industry’, International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management.

Roberts, T., 2013, ‘Understanding the research methodology of interpretative phenomenological analysis’, British Journal of Midwifery, vol.21, no.3, pp.215-218.

Schaltegger, S. and Burritt, R., 2014, ‘Measuring and managing sustainability performance of supply chains: Review and sustainability supply chain management framework’, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol.19, no.3, pp.232-241.

Segerstedt, A. and Olofsson, T., 2010, ‘Supply chains in the construction industry’, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol.15, no.5, pp.347-353.

Smith, J.A. ed., 2015, Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods, Sage, UK.

Taylor, S.J., Bogdan, R. and DeVault, M., 2015, Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource, John Wiley & Sons, USA.

Vaioleti, T.M., 2016, ‘Talanoa research methodology: A developing position on Pacific research’, Waikato Journal of Education, vol.12, no.1.

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