Journal of Cleaner Production 251 (2020) 119674
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Uncovering the inﬂuence mechanism between top management support and green procurement: The effect of green training Junqi Liu a, b, *, Yuting Liu a, Lu Yang c a
School of Economics and Management, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610031, PR China The Green Development Promotion Association of Sichuan Province (GDPAS), Chengdu, Sichuan, 610000, PR China c School of Economics & Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, 200092, PR China b
a r t i c l e i n f o
a b s t r a c t
Article history: Received 26 October 2019 Received in revised form 9 December 2019 Accepted 10 December 2019 Available online xxx
Green procurement is a key component in green supply chain management (GSCM), and top management support is a key factor in the implementation of environmental practice in ﬁrms. An increase in the amount or academic research on GSCM has led to studies on the important inﬂuence of top management support for green procurement, but the inﬂuence mechanism has remained largely unexplored. To ﬁll this research gap, this study, centering on Chinese manufacturing ﬁrms, develops a moderated multiple mediation model to highlight the effect of green training. It aims to uncover the inﬂuence mechanism between top management support and green procurement. Using regression methods to analyze data from 171 questionnaires, we ﬁnd that their relationship can be mediated by green training on awareness and responsibility and on technical knowledge and skills. Additionally, we ﬁnd that the latter has a stronger mediating effect and that the corporate social responsibility (CSR) culture of ﬁrms can negatively moderate these two mediating effects. This study contributes to a better understanding of the inﬂuence mechanism among speciﬁc related factors. Its implications can also be used for reference by managers. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Handling Editor: Charbel Jose Chiappetta Jabbour Keywords: Green procurement Top management support Green training CSR culture Moderated mediation
1. Introduction Procurement acts as a gatekeeper for ﬁrms (Preuss, 2001) and undertakes the key boundary-spanning function in the ﬁrm supply chain (Yen and Yen, 2012). It is one of the sources of ﬁrms’ competitive advantage (Barney, 2012). Green procurement is deﬁned as procurement that incorporates environmental factors into procurement policies, plans, and actions (Bohari et al., 2017; Large and Thomsen, 2011). Increasing global environmental concerns (Kumar et al., 2019) have led to green procurement receiving increasing attention from industries and academia (de Sousa Jabbour et al., 2019; Hou, 2012; Walker et al., 2012). On the one hand, green procurement can directly or indirectly exert a positive impact on ﬁrms’ environmental performance (Green et al., 2012; Large and Thomsen, 2011; Zhu and Sarkis, 2004) and ﬁnancial performance (Carter et al., 2000; Carter, 2005; Chan et al., 2012; Eltayeb et al., 2011; Song et al., 2017; Zhu et al.,
* Corresponding author. School of Economics and Management, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, Sichuan 610031, PR China. E-mail addresses: [email protected]
, [email protected]
(J. Liu). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.119674 0959-6526/© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
2010), although sometimes this relationship only works in the medium and long terms (Zhu et al., 2013). On the other hand, green procurement, as the ﬁrst step in the greening of organizations (Dubey et al., 2013), plays an important role in successfully implementing GSCM (Rao and Holt, 2005; Zhu et al., 2008). As green procurement is so important, scholars have engaged in studying what factors, external or internal, can motivate ﬁrms to implement green procurement practices (Appolloni et al., 2014). Although many studies explore external factors, such as regulations (Chen, 2005), market (Zhu and Sarkis, 2007), competition (Carter et al., 2000), and society (Zhu and Geng, 2013), internal factors are equally indispensable (Bowen et al., 2001). Among the internal factors of the organization, the role of top management is crucial (Singh et al., 2019b, 2019c). Especially, top management support has been regarded as a key factor for the successful practice of green procurement (Blome et al., 2014; Carter and Jennings, 2004; Dai et al., 2014; Giunipero et al., 2012; Hoejmose and Adrien-Kirby, 2012; Huang and Yang, 2015; Yen and Yen, 2012). Its importance (Daily and Huang, 2001) is considered even greater than that of other factors (Young and Jordan, 2008). However, existing studies mainly explore the direct
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relationship between top management support and green procurement (Blome et al., 2014; Dai et al., 2014; Giunipero et al., 2012; Hoejmose and Adrien-Kirby, 2012; Huang and Yang, 2015; Yen and Yen, 2012). Few studies investigate their inﬂuence mechanism (Carter and Jennings, 2004), but doing so is critical for discovering how top management support affects green procurement practices. To understand this, it is necessary to explore factors that potentially mediate their relationship. One internal factor, namely green training, is very important for green practices (El-Kassar and Singh, 2019; Jabbour and de Sousa Jabbour, 2014; Jabbour et al., 2017b; Singh and El-Kassar, 2019; Singh et al., 2019a). Green training can help organizational members develop knowledge and skills (Singh et al., 2020), which is exactly what green procurement needs. Meanwhile, given the strong trend toward studies of organizational culture (Jabbour et al., 2019), we chose to explore whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) culture (Duarte, 2010) had an impact on the mediating effect of green training. Based on the research gaps and literature, we address this research question (RQ): How and under what conditions does top management support inﬂuence green procurement? To answer this RQ, we develop a moderated multiple mediation model, highlighting green training and aiming to uncover the inﬂuence mechanism between top management support and green procurement. This ﬁrst theoretical contribution of our study addresses issues raised by or lacking in previous studies (Blome et al., 2014; Carter and Jennings, 2004; Dai et al., 2014; Giunipero et al., 2012; Hoejmose and Adrien-Kirby, 2012; Huang and Yang, 2015; Yen and Yen, 2012). The study not only responds to Dai et al.’s (2014) call for in-depth research on this relationship, but also responds to Jabbour and de Sousa Jabbour’s (2016) call for introducing green training into research on GSCM or green procurement. Our study’s second contribution is that we explore not only the mediating effect of green training on top management support and green procurement, but that we also divide green training into two focus areas: awareness and responsibility training and technical knowledge and skills training. This echoes Sarkis et al.’s (2010) call for more in-depth research on green training, and it is also an extension of Singh et al. (2019a). Third, we incorporate CSR culture into our green procurement research, which provides a detailed understanding of the extent to which green procurement of organizations is affected. This echoes Walker et al.’s (2012) call and expands CSR research. To achieve our research objectives, the paper is organized as follows. Section 1 provides the introduction; Section 2 presents the theory and hypotheses; Section 3 describes the methodology and results; Section 4 discusses the results and contributions, and Section 5 concludes the study. 2. Theory and hypotheses 2.1. The natural resource-based view (NRBV) This study uses the natural resource-based view (NRBV) of ﬁrms as its theoretical perspective. This theory is one of the mainstream theories in the ﬁeld of GSCM (Sarkis et al., 2011). The NRBV is based on resource-based view (RBV) (Hart, 1995; Sarkis et al., 2011) that says if ﬁrms control valuable, rare, inimitable, and nonsubstitutable (VRIN) resources, they can obtain a sustainable competitive advantage (Barney, 1991). Hart’s (1995) NRBV extended RBV, based on the belief that environmental factors affect competitive advantage. NRBV considers that sustainable competitive advantage can be achieved through better management of environmental issues. Before proceeding, it is necessary to clarify two concepts, namely, resources and capabilities, which are often confused
(Andersen and Kheam, 1998). Grant (1991, p. 118) deﬁned resources as “inputs into the production process of the ﬁrm [that] comprise capital equipment, ﬁnance, skills of individual employees, patents, brand names, ﬁnance, and so on,” and he deﬁned capabilities as “capacities for a team of resources to perform some tasks or activities.” Chan (2005), summarizing Grant’s (1991) view, considered that a ﬁrm’s capabilities constitute “what it can do as a result of bundles of resources working together” (Chan, 2005, p. 630). Hart (1995) also agreed with Grant (1991). Based on these deﬁnitions, we can view green procurement as an environmental capability and green training as a resource. The view that green procurement is an environmental capability has been applied in studies like those by Blome et al. (2014) and Song et al. (2017). Capabilities enable an organization to obtain a competitive advantage (Rugman and Verbeke, 2002); NRBV holds that competitive advantage is rooted in the capabilities of a ﬁrm’s environmental activities (Hart, 1995; Shi et al., 2012). A recent study shows that the adoption of green procurement gave ﬁrms a competitive advantage (Song et al., 2017) and supported the notion that green procurement is a capability. Meanwhile, a ﬁrm’s resources are various (Delmas, 2001); human resources are especially important (Barney, 2001; Birdi et al., 2008). Hart (1995) regarded resources to be a prerequisite for organizational capabilities and as a fundamental unit for exploring the competitive advantage; thus, according to NRBV, environmentoriented human resources are an important for achieving environmental capabilities such as green procurement. For example, green training, highlighted in this study, is one resource that can improve environmental capabilities (Hart, 1995; Sarkis et al., 2010). In summary, based on NRBV, we suggest that there is strong theoretical linkage between green training (as an organizational resource) and green procurement (as an organizational capability). 2.2. Hypotheses development 2.2.1. The direct effect of top management support on green procurement Due to its position in the ﬁrm, top management guides the direction of organization activities (Finkelstein and Hambrick, 1990). An organization follows the actions, direction, and efforts of top management in determining the ultimate development direction of the ﬁrm (Wilms et al., 1994). The important function of top management support (Daily and Huang, 2001) makes it the most crucial (Young and Jordan, 2008), fundamental (Kannan et al., 2014) factor affecting the success of a project. Green procurement implementation is inseparable from top management support. The key role of top management support in green procurement has been acknowledged by many studies (Carter and Jennings, 2004; Dai et al., 2014; Dubey et al., 2017; Hoejmose and Adrien-Kirby, 2012; Islam et al., 2016; McMurray et al., 2014; Shen et al., 2017). Top management support for green procurement actively promotes the procurement function toward environmentally responsible development (Carter and Jennings, 2004). It is also the basis and guarantee for the organization to implement green procurement (Yen and Yen, 2012). On the one hand, it represents clearly conveying the importance of green procurement to the organization and motivating the organization to create and maintain green values (Blome et al., 2014). On the other hand, top management is the decision-maker with respect to a ﬁrm’s resource allocation (Kor and Mahoney, 2005). It can allocate sufﬁcient human resources to support organizational environment actions (Dai et al., 2014). Kumar et al. (2019) argue that the importance of top management support stems from its ability to fully inﬂuence other human resourceerelated factors. According to NRBV, environmentoriented resources are the fundamental unit to increase
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environmental capability (Hart, 1995); the practice of green procurement is inseparable from a variety of resources. Top managers, as the main allocators of these resources, can ensure the successful implementation of green procurement by sufﬁcient allocation of various resources, including human resources. In summary, top management is the key factor affecting green procurement implementation. Accordingly, we propose the following hypothesis: H1. Top management support is positively associated with green procurement. 2.2.2. The mediating role of green training Green training plays an important role in the environmental practice of ﬁrms (Jabbour and de Sousa Jabbour, 2014; Jabbour et al., 2015; Jabbour et al., 2017b; Jackson et al., 2011; Singh et al., 2019a). It is considered one of the main ways to support environmental practices in a ﬁrm (Jabbour and de Sousa Jabbour, 2016). It is also the basis for the successful implementation of environmental management (Jabbour, 2013). Typical green training generally includes four stages: deﬁnition of green training needs, design and planning for green training, green training practice, and evaluation results (Teixeira et al., 2012). Although many studies have examined how green training can affect the implementation of environmental practices such as green procurement and GSCM (Nejati et al., 2017; Sarkis et al., 2010; Teixeira et al., 2016; Zaid et al., 2018), most have not deeply investigated the relationship between different types of green training and environmental practices. Additionally, only a few studies have discussed green training as a result or an intermediate factor (Jabbour, 2013). Therefore, instead of focusing on speciﬁc training stages, this study explores different green training content and the idea of green training as a result or an intermediate factor. Green training can improve employees’ awareness and responsibility for environmental issues (Perron et al., 2006; Sammalisto and Brorson, 2008), and it can enhance their technical knowledge and skills in dealing with environmental issues (Pinzone et al., 2016, 2019). Although there can be overlap, these are two different contents: green training of awareness and responsibility (GTAR) and green training of technical knowledge and skills (GTKS) (Brenner et al., 2013; Renwick et al., 2013; Unnikrishnan and Hegde, 2007). This study posits that green training should contain relevant training of awareness and responsibility and training of technical knowledge and skills and explored them separately. When there is a lack of environmental awareness or a negative view of green procurement, a ﬁrm will be hindered in implementing green procurement (Sajjad et al., 2015). Madsen and Ulhøi (2001) found that 71.1% of the surveyed Danish ﬁrms had formulated environmental policies, but only 41.4% of the respondents had an in-depth understanding of those policies, emphasizing the need for improving environmental awareness and responsibility. Training is the main method to improve awareness of green procurement (Bohari et al., 2017). Studies have shown that green training related to improving environmental awareness can ~o encourage public sectors to implement green procurement (Araga and Jabbour, 2017). Similarly, it can also promote ﬁrms to implement green procurement. Green training can improve employees’ motivation to participate in environmental practices through improving their environmental awareness. GTAR plays a similar role in green procurement. From the perspective of NRBV, GTAR is an environment-related resource that can bring environmental awareness and responsibility to the members of an organization; when organization members are able to understand green training correctly and comprehend their responsibility with respect to the sustainable
development goals of the organization (e.g., the goal of green procurement) (Pellegrini et al., 2018), they are more willing to take actions that beﬁt environmentally responsible procurement. In other words, GTAR can help employees understand why there is a need to implement green procurement. Therefore, this study posits that GTAR is positively associated with ﬁrms’ green procurement implementation. Even if top management supports a ﬁrm’s implementation of green procurement, the organizational response to this support may be heterogeneous. This heterogeneity may be explained by employees’ lack of GTAR. Successful environmental practices require employees to possess environmental awareness and responsibility (Nejati et al., 2017). When the organization lacks GTAR, employees may not have sufﬁcient awareness of green procurement. It is also not easy for them to understand the responsibility of green procurement. This would make it difﬁcult for them to make environmentally responsible decisions, and consequently, hinder green procurement implementation. Therefore, training needs top management support (Daily and Huang, 2001), and top management can further promote environmental practices by supporting the organization for green training (Unnikrishnan and Hegde, 2007). Similarly, if top management supports green procurement, it may help the organization overcome barriers to implementing green procurement by encouraging the ﬁrm to provide GTAR. In other words, top management support for green procurement can promote green procurement practices through GTAR. Therefore, we propose the following hypothesis: H2a. Green training on awareness and responsibility mediates the positive relationship between top management support and green procurement. If GTAR can help employees understand why green procurement is implemented, then the corresponding GTKS can help them understand how to implement green procurement. Green procurement is not easy to implement and includes responsibilities such as the establishment and use of green procurement lists, identiﬁcation of green products and environmental labeling products (Zhu et al., 2008), and the selection, evaluation, and development of green suppliers (Blome et al., 2014). It can also be a big challenge to maintain a good environmental partnership with suppliers (Yen and Yen, 2012), and identify suppliers engaged in “greenwashing” (Testa et al., 2018). Based on NRBV, GTKS is an environment-related resource, and it can help employees acquire technical knowledge and skills about green procurement. Meanwhile, such knowledge and skills can enable employees to better practice green procurement (Teixeira et al., 2016); it may even affect ﬁrm performance (Al-Ahbabi et al., 2019; Kaur et al., 2019). In other words, GTKS (as an organizational resource) can promote green procurement (as an organizational capability). Therefore, lack of relevant technical knowledge and skills can hinder ﬁrms from implementing green procurement (Islam et al., 2016). Thus, we consider that GTKS is positively associated with green procurement implementation. From the perspective of NRBV, this study holds that GTKS will mediate the relationship between top management support and green procurement. Our reasoning is that although top management might support the idea of implementing green procurement, the actual implementation might be hindered by their lack of technical knowledge resources. Since training plays an important role in constructing and transferring knowledge resources (Sarkis et al., 2010), lack of GTKS may be an important obstacle impeding ﬁrms’ implementation of environmental practices. As an environmental practice, green procurement faces the same obstacle. When top managers support a ﬁrm’s implementation of green procurement, they may overcome the obstacles impeding their implementation of green procurement by promoting GTKS in the ﬁrm
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(Kumar et al., 2019; Unnikrishnan and Hegde, 2007). In other words, top management’s support for green procurement may affect the success of green procurement practices through GTKS. Therefore, we proposed the following additional hypothesis: H2b. Green training on technical knowledge and skills mediates the positive relationship between top management support and green procurement. 2.2.3. Moderated mediation effects of CSR culture Both organizational culture and green training, as factors related to human resources, play important roles and are thus receiving more scholarly attention (Busaibe et al., 2017; Jabbour, 2011; Jabbour et al., 2019; Jabbour and de Sousa Jabbour, 2016). Organizational culture refers to the content commonly shared by an organization’s members (Schein, 2004), and this includes ﬁrms’ environmental practices (Carter and Jennings, 2004; Kumar et al., 2019). Another related ﬁeld, CSR, refers to an organization’s voluntary consideration of social and environmental issues, especially in its interactions with stakeholders (European Commission, 2001). CSR usually involves economic, social, and environmental dimensions (Reverte et al., 2016). It has received increasing attention in recent years (Carroll and Shabana, 2010; Lindgreen and Swaen, 2010), and it is associated with the environmental practices of ﬁrms. This study suggests that CSR culture is especially worthy of attention in the ﬁeld of green procurement, and more so than other organizational subcultures, such as clan culture (Miao et al., 2012) and adhocracy culture (Pasricha et al., 2018). CSR culture is deﬁned as the set of common meanings based on the concept of sustainable development that gives an organization its own unique character of ethics, fairness, and transparency in social groups and environment (Duarte, 2010). It enables organization members to reach consensus on a range of CSR-related assumptions, values, and beliefs (Yu and Choi, 2016). It is affected by factors such as government pressure, competitor pressure, and customer pressure. It may also be related to organization performance (Rizzi et al., 2018; Phillips et al., 2019). Although few studies have explored the relationship between CSR culture and green procurement, this study does not explore whether CSR culture is directly related to green procurement. However, from the perspective of NRBV, CSR culture can be considered an organizational resource. Especially, since environmental issues are a part of CSR, CSR culture has a relationship with the values and beliefs organization members hold regarding the environment, and these values and beliefs may affect the mediating effect of the hypothesis. In other words, CSR culture may interfere in how top management support affects green procurement through green training. The level of CSR culture varies from ﬁrm to ﬁrm, and CSR may moderate the mediating effect of GTAR between top management support and green procurement. Under the condition of higherlevel CSR culture, an organization has a higher CSR-related common assumptions, values, and beliefs; therefore, organization members can better perceive CSR (Quazi, 2003) and have a higher respect for the environment (Duarte, 2011). Thus, it may be easier for members to be fully aware of and understand green procurement. Meanwhile, in an organization that incorporates CSR culture, members may pay more attention to environmental issues ndez et al., 2003), which makes it easier for them to under(Ferna stand the responsibility of implementing green procurement. Therefore, an organization’s response to top management support may be less affected by the lack of GTAR. That is, the organization may be less dependent on such training. For ﬁrms with lower-level CSR culture, GTAR may still be an important way to be fully aware of and understand green procurement. Although the level of CSR culture varies from ﬁrm to ﬁrm, this
study considered that CSR culture may not moderate the mediating effect of GTKS between top management support and green procurement. In ﬁrms with higher-level CSR culture, organization ndez members might focus more on environmental issues (Ferna et al., 2003), and they might also have a fuller awareness of and responsibility for green procurement. However, the success of green procurement practices requires not only awareness and responsibility, but also expertise and skills, such as cooperation with suppliers for environmental purposes, auditing suppliers’ internal green management, and evaluation of second-tier suppliers (Zhu et al., 2008). Honing such expertise and skills presents a new problem for organizations with different levels of organizational culture, but training is the primary way organizations acquire expertise and skills (Sarkis et al., 2010). Therefore, regardless of the level of CSR culture, organizations need to rely on GTKS. Based on the above discussion, we propose the following two hypotheses. H3a. As CSR culture is stronger, green training on awareness and responsibility will have a weaker mediating effect on the relationship between top management support and green procurement. H3b. Whether the CSR culture is stronger or weaker, there will be no signiﬁcant difference in the mediating effect of green training on technical knowledge and skills on the relationship between top management support and green procurement. The conceptual model of this study is shown in Fig. 1. 3. Methodology and results 3.1. Procedure and participate In order to answer the RQ and test the ﬁve hypotheses presented above, this study obtains data via questionnaires. For the preparation of the questionnaire, we refer to Churchill (1979). We ﬁrst identiﬁed the research constructs through literature review. Second, we selected the most appropriate items for our constructs, and prepare a preliminary questionnaire. Third, we sent it to seven MBA students and procurement practitioners, and asked them to check its clarity and readability. Fourth, we invited three management professors and doctoral students to evaluate the content validity of the questionnaire, and then made minor modiﬁcations according to their opinions. Finally, since the research object of this study is Chinese ﬁrms, we employed professional English translators to conduct English-Chinese and Chinese-English translations to ensure the equivalence of the constructs (Lin et al., 2013). This study selected Sichuan province and City Chongqing as its survey area. Located in southwestern China, Sichuan and Chongqing are important bases for China’s manufacturing and electronic information industries. Meanwhile, both of them are located in upstream of the Yangtze River, and they are facing great pressure from ecological environment. So they have been highly valued by the nation. Therefore, they are another better area for GSCM research besides the eastern coastal areas of China (Feng et al., 2018). In addition, the Central Environmental Protection Inspector Group has been stationed in Sichuan and Chongqing in the past two years, enabling more ﬁrms to realize the importance of green procurement and take actions. We have entrusted the questionnaire company operated by Shanghai Loop Information Co., Ltd. to help us distribute and collect data. The questionnaires were distributed online on July 2019. This data collection method has been widely used (Xue et al., 2016; Wu et al., 2019). This study adopted a convenient sampling method (Zhu and Sarkis, 2004) to distribute the questionnaires to the
J. Liu et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 251 (2020) 119674
Fig. 1. The moderated mediation conceptual model.
management or procurement managers of manufacturing ﬁrms in Sichuan and Chongqing. In order to reduce the problem of common method variance (CMV), we guaranteed the anonymity of the questionnaire. Meanwhile, with reference to the suggestions of Chang and Eden (2010), we randomly arranged the questions of the questionnaire. In addition, the respondents of this study have professional knowledge of procurement, which also decreases the impact of CMV (Narayanan et al., 2011). Considering China’s background, besides industry type and ﬁrm size, respondents can choose not to provide other personal and ﬁrm information in order to reduce the common rater effect (Zhu et al., 2013). According to a previous study (Dai et al., 2014), our target industry is manufacturing, namely the C-13 ~ C-43 categories listed in the industry classiﬁcation of China’s national economy, including furniture, electronics, information, automobiles, etc.(China Standardization Administration, 2017). A total of 171 valid questionnaires were obtained, the attributes of the ﬁrms under this survey are as follows. According to ﬁrm size (National Bureau of Statistics, 2017), there are 18 (11% of total validity questionnaires) large ﬁrms (with employees over 1000), 53 (31%) medium-sized ﬁrms (with 300e1000 employees) and 100 (58%) small ﬁrms (with employees under 300). According to industry, 52 (30% of total validity questionnaires) ﬁrms belong to furniture manufacturing industry (C-21), 39 (23%) ﬁrms belong to automobile manufacturing industry (C-36), 32 (19%) ﬁrms belong to computer, communication and other electronic equipment manufacturing industry (C-39), and 48 (28%) ﬁrms belong to other industries (28%). 3.2. Measures and measurement model This study has measured 5 constructs with a total of 27 items. All items use Likert 5 point scale. 3 items are used to measure top management support (TMS) (Carter and Jennings, 2004). 7 items are used to measure green training (GTAR and GTKS) (Teixeira et al., 2016). It is worth noting that GTAR and GTKS are two independent constructs because green training is divided into GTAR and GTKS. 5 items are used to measure CSR culture (CSRC) (Yu and Choi, 2016). 5 ﬁnal items are used to measure green procurement (GP) (Zhu et al.,
2008). The speciﬁc items of the 5 constructs are presented in Table 1. Besides, we also introduce a control variable, namely the ﬁrm’s scale (Zhu and Sarkis, 2007). According to the resent actual situation in China (National Bureau of Statistics, 2017), we divide ﬁrms into large ﬁrms, medium ﬁrms and small ﬁrms. Next, we analyze the reliability and validity of the questionnaire (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). We ﬁrst test the Cronbach’s-alpha value of each construct for checking their reliability. Then, we use a conﬁrmatory factor analysis (CFA) to calculate the factor load, composite reliability (CR) and average variance extraction (AVE) of each construct item for checking the convergent validity. We ﬁnally test the correlation coefﬁcient and the square root of AVE of each construct for checking the discriminant validity. The test results are presented in Tables 1 and 2. From Table 1, we ﬁnd that the ﬁtting indicators of the measurement model are good (Chi2 ¼ 506.471, df ¼ 314, Chi2/df ¼ 1.613, CFI ¼ 0.945, TLI ¼ 0.939, RMSEA ¼ 0.060). All of them reach the corresponding standards (Kline, 2005; Kam and Bond, 2008), indicating that the measurement model ﬁts the data well. The Cronbach’s-alpha value and CR of each construct exceed 0.7 (O’Leary-Kelly and Vokurka, 1998), and AVE exceeds 0.5 (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). This shows that the questionnaire and constructs in this study have high reliability and convergent validity. From Table 2, we ﬁnd that the correlation coefﬁcient of each construct does not exceed 0.7, which preliminarily indicates discriminant validity (Hair et al., 2010). Next, through comparing the square root of AVE with the correlation coefﬁcient, we ﬁnd that none of the correlation coefﬁcients exceed the minimum square root of AVE, indicating that the discriminant validity is higher (Hair et al., 2010). The above tests show that the constructs and scales have good reliability and validity. 3.3. CMV and non-respondent bias We have used four methods to examine the potential CMV. First, Harman one factor method based on exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is used in this study (Podsakoff et al., 1990). We use the EFA of principal component analysis (PCA). The ﬁrst factor (mot rotated) explains 36.687% of the total variation. It is below the threshold
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Table 1 Factor loading and constructs reliability and validity. Constructs (All items are measured by Likert 5-point scale)
1. Top management support for green procurement The examples top-management provides Requirements made by senior management Top-down initiatives 2. Green training of awareness and responsibility Contents of GTAR are raised through a systematic analysis of training gaps and needs The responsibilities and duties of ofﬁcial green trainers are precisely deﬁned GTAR is offered to all employees (including outsourced) There are adequate assessments of employees’ performance after attending GTAR sessions Generally, employees are satisﬁed with the GTAR offered The topics approached during GTAR are appropriate and current for company activities Employees who receive GTAR have the opportunity to apply green knowledge in everyday activities 3. Green training of technical knowledge and skills Contents of GTKS are raised through a systematic analysis of training gaps and needs The responsibilities and duties of ofﬁcial green trainers are precisely deﬁned GTKS is offered to all employees (including outsourced) There are adequate assessments of employees’ performance after attending GTKS sessions Generally, employees are satisﬁed with the GTKS offered The topics approached during GTKS are appropriate and current for company activities Employees who receive GTKS have the opportunity to apply green knowledge in everyday activities 4. CSR organizational culture The employees have a strong degree of awareness on the CSR Our leader believes and values the adoption of CSR Our organization develops strategy on the CSR activities Our organization has the CSR training program for the employees Our organization keeps a special department/person for CSR management 5. Green procurement practice Eco labeling of products Cooperation with suppliers for environmental objectives Environmental audit of suppliers’ internal management Suppliers’ ISO 14000 certiﬁcation Second-tier supplier environmentally friendly practice evaluation
0.740 0.822 0.902
ﬁxed 10.428 10.962
0.787 0.777 0.802 0.751 0.817 0.800 0.775
ﬁxed 10.964 11.403 10.498 11.688 11.376 10.929
0.774 0.829 0.789 0.819 0.839 0.838 0.837
ﬁxed 11.814 11.095 11.636 11.993 11.963 11.953
0.889 0.825 0.889 0.860 0.836
ﬁxed 14.475 16.807 15.709 14.844 0.934
0.901 0.834 0.845 0.850 0.806
ﬁxed 15.061 15.457 15.665 14.079
Notes. GTAR ¼ Green training of awareness and responsibility, GTKS ¼ Green training of technical knowledge and skills, Std. FL¼ Standard factor loading, t ¼ Critical ratio, Cona ¼ Cronbach’s-alpha, CR¼ Composite reliability, AVE ¼ Average variance extraction.
chosen as marker variables (Malhotra et al., 2006). In this study, we select the correlation coefﬁcient 0.027 between GTKS and CSRC, and the correlation coefﬁcient 0.058 between CSRC and GP as marker variables. In Table 2 we calculate the revised correlation coefﬁcients. We ﬁnd the signiﬁcant correlation coefﬁcient does not decrease. In summary, potential CMV does not seriously affect our study. To test the potential non-respondent bias, we use independent sample T test to test the questionnaires that are early returned and subsequently returned (Armstrong and Overton, 1977). The test result shows no signiﬁcant difference between the two groups (P > 0.05, two-tailed). Therefore, the non-response bias of this study does not need special consideration.
value 40% or 50%. Second, Harman single factor method based on CFA is used in this study (Podsakoff et al., 2003). We load all items on the same latent variable, develop a one-factor model and ﬁt the model with CFA. The ﬁtting result (Chi2 ¼ 2209.276, df ¼ 324, Chi2/df ¼ 6.819, CFI ¼ 0.463, TLI ¼ 0.419, RMSEA ¼ 0.185) is obviously worse than our measurement model (Measurement model ﬁt: Chi2 ¼ 506.471, df ¼ 314, Chi2/df ¼ 1.613, CFI ¼ 0.945, TLI ¼ 0.939, RMSEA ¼ 0.060). Third, this study also uses the CMV factor method (Podsakoff et al., 2003). We add a potential CMV factor to the original measurement model, set all other items equal to each path of the CMV factor and ﬁt the model with CFA. The ﬁtting result (Chi2 ¼ 489.083, df ¼ 313, Chi2/df ¼ 1.563, CFI ¼ 0.950, TLI ¼ 0.944, RMSEA ¼ 0.058) shows no signiﬁcant difference with our measurement model. In addition, the difference of the CFI indicator between the two models is 0.005 (0.950e0.945), which is lower than the recommended threshold 0.05 (Little, 1997). Fourth, referring to Lindell and Whitney (2001) and Wei et al. (2017), we use marker variable method to test potential CMV. The smallest and second smallest correlation coefﬁcients should be
3.4. Hypotheses testing We use linear regression to test our hypotheses. The PROCESS macro is used for data analysis (Hayes et al., 2017), and this method has been widely used (Fisher et al., 2012). Our test includes direct effect analysis, multiple mediation effect analysis, and analysis of
Table 2 Descriptive and correlation analysis. Construct
1.TMS 2.GTAR 3.GTKS 4.CSRC 5.GP
3.088 2.711 3.049 2.847 3.201
1.135 1.069 1.086 1.292 1.153
0.824(0.679) 0.392*** 0.467*** 0.156** 0.528***
0.375*** 0.787(0.620) 0.370*** 0.068 0.451***
0.452*** 0.353*** 0.819(0.670) 0.027 0.641***
0.133* 0.042 MV 0.860(0.740) 0.058
0.515*** 0.436*** 0.631*** 0.032 0.848(0.719)
Notes. The values on the cross diagonals represent the square root of AVE, and (AVE). The values below the cross diagonals represent the unadjusted correlations. The values above the cross diagonals represent the CMV-adjusted correlations (Lindell and Whitney, 2001). MV ¼ marker variable. *** ¼ p 0.01, ** ¼ p 0.05, * ¼ p 0.1, two-tailed.
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Table 3 Mediation effects of GTAR and GTKS. Mediation model
Total effect Direct effect Indirect effects-total Indirect effects-GTAR Indirect effects-GTKS Indirect effect contrast (GTAR vs. GTKS)
0.536 0.253 0.282 0.072 0.210 0.138
0.065 0.064 0.053 0.026 0.051 0.060
0.428 0.148 0.200 0.031 0.133 0.243
0.643 0.359 0.378 0.115 0.297 0.045
H1: supported H2a: supported H2b: supported
Note. SE¼ Standard error. CI¼ Conﬁdence interval. Method ¼ bootstrap bias-corrected percentile method, bootstrap times ¼ 1000. The effects shown are non-standardized effects.
moderated mediation effect. Following the approach of Newton et al. (2015), we ﬁrst test the direct effect analysis and mediating effect, and then add the moderating variable to the model for testing. The speciﬁc test procedures and methods refer to Hayes (2018). In this study, we use bootstrap analysis method with 1000-times repeated sampling. The conﬁdence interval (CI) is set at 90%, and the bias-corrected percentile method is used for sampling. If 0 is not included between the lower and upper limited of the CI, the corresponding effect is signiﬁcant. Particularly, we have centralized the moderating variable before analyzing the moderating effect (Jaccard et al., 1990). The speciﬁc analysis results are presented in Tables 3 and 4. Furthermore, with reference to Preacher et al. (2007), we have graphed the moderated mediation effect, which is shown in Figs. 2 and 3. From Table 3, we ﬁnd that the direct effect is signiﬁcant, indicating H1 is supported. The indirect effects-total, indirect effects GTAR and indirect effects GTKS are all signiﬁcant, indicating H2a and H2b are supported. The CSR culture has a moderating effect on mediator GTAR at low and medium levels, and the moderating effect decreases with the increase of CSR culture level. Meanwhile, the CSR culture even has no moderating effect on mediating effect at high level. Therefore, H3a is supported. Similarly, H3b is not supported because the CSR culture shows a negative mediating effect on mediator GTKS. 4. Discussion Our empirical results support H1, H2a, H2a, and H3a. Regretfully, H3b is not supported. Surprisingly, we ﬁnd that the higher the CSR culture, the lower the mediating effect of GTKS on top management support and green procurement. One reasonable explanation may be the “self-directed learning” of organization members. Selfdirected learning is a learning method in which individuals realize the need of learning, seek learning resources, manage the learning process, and evaluate the learning result (Candy, 1991). It is
an individual attribute of organization members (Brockett and Hiemstra, 1991), and the organizational culture is a key factor affecting self-directed learning (Park and Kwon, 2004). For this study, when top management supports green procurement, the organization members of the ﬁrm with higher CSR culture may acquire technical knowledge and skills of green procurement through self-directed learning. Thus, they do not rely on relevant training. Speciﬁcally, compared with organizations with lower CSR culture, organizations with higher CSR culture may better manage environmental issues (Maon et al., 2010; Barker et al., 2014). This foundation of better environmental management gives members a greater ability to acquire necessary technical knowledge and skills through “self-directed learning.” For example, even if at the beginning employees do not have the knowledge and skills required for green procurement, they may have other types of environmental practice knowledge, such as green supplier development (Blome et al., 2014). Therefore, they can quickly acquire technical knowledge and skills through independent access to information and learning from industry peers, such as peers with advanced environmental practices that they encounter through green supplier development. Another assumption is that organizations with higher CSR culture may have a greater organizationaleindividual ﬁt in environmental practices. When the ﬁt is better, the members are more active in green-related responsibilities (for example, green procurement) (Kristof, 1996). When top management supports green procurement, members may more motivated to acquire relevant knowledge and skills through self-directed learning. In summary, improving CSR culture makes the inﬂuence of top management support on green procurement less dependent on GTKS. It is also worth discussing why the direct relationship between CSR culture and green procurement is not strong. As Table 2 shows, the correlation coefﬁcient between CSRC and GP is not high, even though some studies ﬁnd that CSR culture is related to CSR practices (Phillips et al., 2019; Yu and Choi, 2016). The reason may be
Table 4 Conditional process of TMS on GP at different levels of CSRC. Moderated mediation model
At different levels of CSRC, the effect of TMS on GP via GTAR 1 SD (CSR culture) Mean þ1 SD
Upper H3a: supported
1.292 0 1.292
0.140 0.071 0.006
0.061 0.026 0.021
0.035 0.032 0.030
0.238 0.117 0.038
1.292 0 1.292
0.248 0.207 0.141
0.082 0.049 0.056
0.120 0.131 0.047
0.393 0.289 0.231
At different levels of CSRC, the effect of TMS on GP via GTKS 1 SD (CSR culture) Mean þ1 SD
H3b: not supported
Note. SE¼ Standard error. CI¼ Conﬁdence interval. Method ¼ bootstrap bias-corrected percentile method, bootstrap times ¼ 1000. The moderator has been mean-centred before calculation. The effects shown are non-standardized effects.
J. Liu et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 251 (2020) 119674
Fig. 2. At different levels of CSRC, the effect of TMS on GP via GTAR.
Fig. 3. At different levels of CSRC, the effect of TMS on GP via GTKS.
that even if ﬁrms with higher CSR culture can pay more attention to environmental practices, green procurement is just one of many environmental practices, and green procurement may not be the most economical environmental practice in the short term (Eltayeb et al., 2011). Firms may prefer symbolic environmental practices, such as ISO 14001 certiﬁcation, as well as environmental practices that are more greenwashing than green (Testa et al., 2018). This may creates a low correlation between CSR culture and green procurement. From another perspective, although CSR contains environmental dimensions, it is not solely about environmental issues; the social dimension is also very important (Duarte, 2010). In this study, we investigated small- and medium-sized ﬁrms, and these may have been more inclined to practice the social dimension of CSR, such as improving employee welfare, than large-sized companies. It is noteworthy that a recent study shows that green organizational culture, which focuses more on environmental issues than CSR culture, may have a stronger relationship with environmental performance (Roscoe et al., 2019). These two different factors deserve further research (CSR culture vs. green culture).
and Yen, 2012). It answers Dai et al.’s (2014) call for in-depth research on this relationship, as well as Jabbour and de Sousa Jabbour’s (2016) call for introducing green training into research on GSCM and green procurement. Third, this study comprehensively examines two types of green training. Following Longoni et al. (2018), we explore green procurement, a speciﬁc green human resources intervention. We not only explore the mediating role of green training, but also divide green training into training focused on awareness and responsibility (GTAR) and training focused on technical knowledge and skills (GTKS). Further, we explore the effects of different green training contents. This answers Sarkis et al.’s (2010) call for more in-depth research on green training and serves as an extension of Singh et al. (2019a) and Singh and El-Kassar (2019). Interestingly, although both GTAR and GTKS can mediate the relationship between top management support and green procurement, the statistical results show that there is a signiﬁcant difference between the two mediating effects, with the mediating effect of GTKS being stronger. Similar results are also found in the green procurement in public sectors (Liu et al., 2019). In other words, the research results show that knowing the “how” through green training plays a stronger role in promoting green procurement practices than knowing the “why.” This may be because green procurement requires more technical knowledge and skills; therefore, knowing relevant technical knowledge and skills is an essential factor in green procurement practices. GTAR can help employees know why green procurement is implemented, while GTKS can help employees understand how to implement green procurement. GTKS provided by ﬁrms can better reﬂect the importance that ﬁrms attach to green procurement, because those organizations have upgraded green procurement from an ideological level to an operational level. Fourth, we incorporate CSR organizational culture into green procurement research. The introduction of CSR culture as a moderating variable provides a detailed understanding of the extent to which organizations affect green procurement. This echoes Walker et al.’s (2012) call for further research, and also expands research on CSR culture and the organizational culture (Jabbour et al., 2019).
4.1. Theoretical contributions Based on the theoretical perspective of NRBV, this study examines the relationship between top management support and green procurement, and it also explores their inﬂuence mechanism. The study offers the following theoretical contributions. First, we re-examine existing knowledge in the Chinese context. We examined the close relationship between top management support and green procurement in Mainland China, the biggest developing country. Our study not only supports the ﬁndings of Yen and Yen (2012) and Dai et al. (2014), but also those of recent studies on the importance of top management (El-Kassar and Singh, 2019; Singh et al., 2019c, 2020). The results once again emphasize the importance of top management support as a critical internal factor (Kannan et al., 2014). Second, this study explores the inﬂuence mechanism of top management support on green procurement. We conduct an indepth research by highlighting the mediating effect of green training between top management support and green procurement. The moderated multiple mediation model developed by this study helped reveal the inﬂuence mechanism. Our conceptual model better explains the motivation of green procurement practice in ﬁrms, thus expanding current knowledge (Blome et al., 2014; Carter and Jennings, 2004; Dai et al., 2014; Giunipero et al., 2012; Hoejmose and Adrien-Kirby, 2012; Huang and Yang, 2015; Yen
4.2. Managerial implications Through the ﬁndings of this study and issues raised in the above discussion, we offer the following management implications. First, top management support is very important for ﬁrms looking to achieve green procurement. If an organization wants to better
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practice green procurement and secure green supply chains and other green capabilities, top management need to actively support these efforts. The signiﬁcant indirect effects highlight the fact that top management support does not only have a direct impact on green capabilities (Dai et al., 2014), but also indirectly affects green capabilities by inﬂuencing other green human resource factors, such as training. This ﬁnding enables top management to better understand how to promote the greening of an organization. Second, ﬁrms need to attach more importance to green training. The importance of green training has been reﬂected in this study and other relevant studies (Sarkis et al., 2010; Singh et al., 2019a), suggesting that it is necessary for ﬁrms to attach importance to green training. However, the connotation of green training is rich, and the contents and types of training are also different (Unnikrishnan and Hegde, 2007). Choosing the appropriate content and type of training are also important. This study tests green training in two different content areas. Although our empirical results show that GTKS has a stronger mediating effect, it does not mean that GTAR is not important. GTAR is of great signiﬁcance to the medium- and long-term green development of ﬁrms. In Table 2, the mean value of GTAR is lower than that of GTKS, suggesting that the Chinese ﬁrms studied require more training in the area of green awareness and responsibility. Third, the results of this study suggest that ﬁrms need to pay more attention to organizational cultures. CSR culture plays a special role in organizations’ green practices. If managers can improve their organizations’ CSR culture, this will be of great help to the greening of the organization and even reduce the need for investment in other human resource areas such as green training. However, this study has provides only a preliminary exploration of CSR culture, and it needs to be explored further. Finally, the ﬁndings of this study are based on NRBV theory. Its results suggest that ﬁrms need to mobilize adequate resources, especially human resources, to support organizations in better green practices, including green procurement. This poses a greater challenge to organizations and its top management. 5. Conclusion This study, centering on Chinese manufacturing ﬁrms, develops a moderated multiple mediation model aims to uncover the inﬂuence mechanism between top management support and green procurement. It concludes that top management support is positively associated with green procurement. This relationship is mediated by both green training of awareness and responsibility (GTAR) and green training of technical knowledge and skills (GTKS), although GTKS has a stronger mediating effect. The study also ﬁnds that the CSR culture of ﬁrms could negatively moderate these two mediating effects. These results answer the RQ we have raised. 5.1. Implications for cleaner production Green procurement plays an important role in cleaner production. On the one hand, green procurement contributes to cleaner production within ﬁrms. Since procurement plays the role of gatekeeper, green procurement can control the raw materials entering a ﬁrm, ensuring that they are green, thus reducing the environmental impact of raw materials in the production process and supporting cleaner production. On the other hand, green procurement can affect the clean production of upstream ﬁrms; purchasing assumes a critical cross-spanning function in the supply chain that can inﬂuence ﬁrms’ suppliers. In view of the signiﬁcance of green procurement, the implications for cleaner production and sustainability are as follows. First, top managers should actively support green procurement. Second,
ﬁrms should use green training to cultivate employees’ green awareness and responsibility and to increase their green technical knowledge and skills. This can help overcome barriers at the ideological and operational levels, encourage employees to consciously reduce waste sources during procurement, and implement cleaner production to reduce pollution and wastage of resources. Third, ﬁrms should actively promote CSR, which can heighten employees’ awareness and reduce the environmental impacts of the procurement and production processes. This not only helps the greening of organizations but may also reduce dependence on green training. Finally, green procurement is only the ﬁrst step along the path to cleaner production. As Jabbour and Renwick (2018) have said, future studies should explore more deeply how the human side of organizations can support green productive processes. 5.2. Limitations and future research There are some limitations to this study. The ﬁrst related to the questionnaire survey. Self-reported data collected may not reﬂect objective reality. Respondents who know more about or who actively practice green procurement, GSCM, and green training may have been more willing to ﬁll out the questionnaire, and this would have resulted in “overvaluation” in our constructs. In addition, the sample size and survey area are not large, which may have affected the robustness of our results. The second limitation relates to causality. The nature of the data used in this study is crosssectional, which makes it difﬁcult to explain causality. Therefore, future research may require the use of panel data to provide reliable insights and causal discussion. This study highlights the need for future research. This research mainly explores the inﬂuence between top management support and green procurement. Future research should explore the relationship between other GHRM factors (e.g., green employment, green performance evaluation) and the important functions of GSCM (e.g., green design and green manufacturing) and their inﬂuence mechanism. Meanwhile, future research should not only study green SCM and procurement but also sustainable SCM and procurement (de Sousa Jabbour et al., 2018), and it should explore more dimensions (e.g., social) based on a sustainability framework, not just the environmental dimension (Jabbour et al., 2017a). Author contribution section Conceptualization, J. Liu and Y. Liu; formal analysis, J. Liu.; survey and data curation, L. Yang and J. Liu.; writingdoriginal manuscript preparation, J. Liu and Y. Liu; writingdreview and editing, J. Liu and L. Yang; supervision, J. Liu. Declaration of competing interest None. Acknowledgements This study is supported by The National Social Science Fund of China [Grant number: 15XZZ011] and MOE (Ministry of Education in China) Project of Humanities and Social Science [Grant number: 18YJC630218]. References Al-Ahbabi, S.A., Singh, S.K., Balasubramanian, S., Gaur, S.S., 2019. Employee perception of impact of knowledge management processes on public sector performance. J. Knowl. Manag. 23 (2), 351e373.
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