Exploration of social sustainability in healthcare supply chain

Matloub Hussain, Mian M. Ajmal, Angappa Gunasekaran, Mehmood Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Social sustainability is concerned with the human side of sustainability. The literature indicates a growing movement towards adopting social practices in the supply chain, and despite the diffusion of the topic, it appears that social sustainability is relatively new in the service sector in general and in the healthcare sector in particular. This study explored this issue and identified the motivators, barriers, and enablers of social sustainability in a healthcare supply chain with the lens of “stakeholder theory” and a focus on four stakeholder groups: suppliers, employees, patients/community and owners/government. These aspects were further explored using a structured research method and specific research objectives. The SIPOC chart was used to list the healthcare suppliers, the inputs (such as employees) supplied and used by main processes in healthcare, the outputs (products and services) of these processes, and their customers (patients and community). This facilitates linkages of different supply chain stakeholders. This is exploratory research; data were collected from various departments of 10 hospitals of United Arab Emirates (UAE), and a comprehensive depiction of what drives, inhibits, and facilitates social sustainability practices in healthcare as perceived by all stakeholders’ groups was formulated. Study results confirmed that, while separate attention to each stakeholder group is important, a comprehensive analysis of all stakeholders’ perceptions of what constitutes a socially sustainable supply chain would offer more benefits and help hospital managers balance the expectations of all involved parties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)977-989
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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