Originally posted on 30 Dec 2013

In economies which are experiencing rapid growth, companies need to ‘aim high’ in their management of accounting and employment practices down the supply chain. Forging relationships with value and meeting labour standards are essential for achieving competitiveness throughout the supply chain and both are the focus of a new ESRC-funded research project from Sheffield University Management School.

The three-year project aims to explore the current role, and future potential, of supply chain accounting in facilitating complementary HR practices and improved labour standards within the automotive and textile industries in Brazil and South Africa. However, the lessons learned go much further than that.

Principle Investigator Professor Pauline Dibben, Associate Dean for Research at Sheffield University Management School, explained:

“SCA-Emp looks at the extent to which companies in the textile and automotive sectors consider employment practices in their accounting. However, not just that – it is whether they work well with their supply chain, understand, and engage with them. This research will be fascinating, especially since the formal economy is so important in South Africa and Brazil, where many workers do not have formal employment. It will be interesting to see the extent to which organisations keep careful accounts on social issues such as the number of women working and how much they are paid, how many disabled people they employ and how they manage people from different ethnic backgrounds.”

The investigating team at Sheffield University Management School drew on expertise in employment relations, supply chain accounting, supply chain management, and research methods, and is supported by a strong advisory board boasting academics and practitioners from three countries, whose knowledge and experience will be highly complementary to the international project. The advisory board includes members of the CIPD and CIMA.

The team is keen for the project to help organisations become more aware of what happens in their supply chain. Labour standards are a very topical issue and public awareness is growing due to news coverage of working conditions and fatal incidents in factories all over the world. Professor Dibben wants participating organisations to benefit from being involved in the project. She hopes that from the research, they will learn where they could improve practice further.

For more information, view the full news story (dated 19 December) on Bizezia News at: http://bizezia.com/newsindex/index/12-2013-18

Martin Pollins
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