A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: The Ambiguous Role of Multistakeholder Meta-Organisations in Sustainable Supply Chains

  • Liliane Carmagnac Supply Chain, Purchasing & Project Management Department, Excelia Business School, La Rochelle, France
  • Anne Touboulic Operations Management and Information Systems Department, Nottingham University Business School, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • Valentina Carbone Sustainability Department, ESCP Business School, Paris, France
Keywords: Meta-organisations, Sustainability, Discourse, Power, Responsibility, Supply chains


Multistakeholder Meta-Organisations (MS-MOs) are often perceived as a ‘magic bullet’ that can tackle societal grand challenges in global supply chains. In this paper, we consider the case of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and we investigate the extent to which an MS-MO reshapes the attribution of responsibility for sustainability in supply chains, especially in relation to underlying power dynamics. We conduct a multimodal critical discourse analysis of a broad range of sources, including videos and interviews. We show that through its discursive strategies, the RSPO allocates the responsibility for social and environmental issues to the two extremes of the supply chain: objectifying consumers at one end and smallholders at the other, hence reproducing and even exacerbating the traditional imbalanced power dynamics in supply chains. Our work contributes to the emerging, more critical strand of research investigating meta-organisations (MOs) and sustainable supply chain management.


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How to Cite
Carmagnac L., Touboulic A., & Carbone V. (2022). A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: The Ambiguous Role of Multistakeholder Meta-Organisations in Sustainable Supply Chains. M@n@gement, 25(4), 45-63. https://doi.org/10.37725/mgmt.v25.4235
Original Research Articles