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Title: Evolution of the U.K. agri-food supply chains : a systems analysis
Author: Zokaei, A. Keivan
ISNI:       0000 0001 2426 3129
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2008
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The agri-food industry has great importance to the UK economy while at the same time proven to give rise to significant socio-environmental problems. The UK agri-food chains have faced several crises and undergone extensive change since the 1990s. However, so far, many improvement attempts in this sector have adopted point analysis of single issues rather than a systems view of the interrelated web of concerns. This thesis recognises a lack, of systemic understanding and systemic improvement approacrtes " within the UK agri-food supply chains and adopts a systems perspective. Therefore, the theoretical background in this thesis is influenced by systems and cognate theories. A review of systems thinking literature is carried out which is subsequently narrowed down focusing on supply chain management and sustainable chain management literature leading to the identification of two gap areas in the body of knowledge. The first gap relates to the improvement of supply chain consumer focus which is identified as a key emerging area in the field of supply chain management. The second gap is about simultaneous improvement of the environmental and economic performance of the UK agri-food chains. The research begins with contextual investigations providing evidence of the misalignment of the UK agri-food chains with the consumer value. Moreover, the contextual research clearly shows that the UK agri- food chains disproportionately pollute the environment and that the existing body of knowledge around the second research gap is in its infancy. The thesis follows by the proposition of a conceptual framework of the evolution of the UK agri-food chain management body of knowledge encapsulating the theoretical propositions of the thesis as well as serving as a guide for the data collection and directing the analyses throughout the thesis. The four rings model of the evolution of the UK agri-food chain management shows how the state of knowledge has evolved in the past and how it should continue to evolve in the future. The rest of the thesis explores and explains how to move the boundary constraints of knowledge within this framework. A multiple case study research strategy is deployed, in line with the research questions posed, the nature of the study and the philosophical approaches underpinning the thesis (the research is argued from a critical realist viewpoint), (enabling the author to develop rich, detailed and contextual knowledge about the UK agri-food chains. In a purposive sample, five case studies have been selected based on the research objectives and in a way to best enable addressing the research gaps. The first research question is addressed through four case studies whereupon significant knowledge is developed about how to improve the consumer orientation of the UK agri-food chains by leveraging the inter- organisational potentials in each case. To that end, a new approach is developed (i.e. the Supply Chain Kano-QFD approach) which is linked to the value stream mapping method. Moreover, the findings of the four case studies are compared and contrasted, and case specific contingencies are discussed. The second research gap is addressed by means of one case study which discusses the challenges ahead in terms of improving the environmental sustainability of the UK agri- food supply chains. The case study challenges the conventional views about the eco- friendliness of the biofuels, provides valuable insights about analysis of the environmental sustainability of the agri-food chains and puts forward key recommendations for future investigation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available