This paper aims to understand the specific role that supply chain flexibility (SCF) can play in the successful adoption of green operations (GO) strategies based on evidence from the automotive industry. By conducting an exploratory case study with three automakers, it is found that different GO strategies require the support of different SCF dimensions. More importantly, the magnitude of the role played by each flexibility dimension varies depending on the degree of innovativeness in the green design initiatives, the types of green purchasing initiatives, and the strategic orientation of green manufacturing initiatives being adopted. Our case studies contribute to the theoretical understanding of the complex SCF-GO relationship by identifying the essential theoretical constructs and indicating their lower layer interactions in a systematic way. In practice, our findings may help managers assess which SCF dimensions can contribute more significantly to their specific GO efforts, and then strategically plan, develop, and deploy relevant flexibility to support beneficial outcomes. Our study contributes to the OM literature by clarifying the multidimensional effects of SCF on GO.
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- Case study
- Green operations
- Supply chain flexibility