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The importance of environmental posture: a cross-case analysis of Sustainable Service Supply Chain Practices of remedial Education Service Providers in the Western Cape.



Sustainable Service Supply Chain Management is a concept that is rarely discussed in Sustainable Supply Chain Management literature. Thus, this report explores Service Supply chains and the practices that Education Service Providers adopt in order to address their Triple Bottom Lines. The research report uses the case study method in order to identify concepts stated within the conceptual framework. For this purpose, three case studies were compiled and analysed individually within the same context to allow for comparison. The report then makes use of a cross-case analysis in order to identify similarities and differences in how Education Service Providers address sustainability within their supply chains. Main findings of the research confirmed the conceptual framework provided by the literature and outlines how different Education Service Providers adopt postures to the structuring of supply chains in order to achieve sustainability. Recommendations for further research are also outlined, and possible discussions are provided within the concluding chapter of the report.
The importance of environmental posture: a cross-case analysis of Sustainable
Service Supply Chain Practices of remedial Education Service Providers in the
Western Cape.
Tristin Hay
Winnie Bandela
Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of MRR712 University of the
Western Cape
Sustainable Service Supply Chain Management is a concept that is rarely discussed
in Sustainable Supply Chain Management literature. Thus, this report explores Service
Supply chains and the practices that Education Service Providers adopt in order to
address their Triple Bottom Lines. The research report uses the case study method in
order to identify concepts stated within the conceptual framework. For this purpose,
three case studies were compiled and analysed individually within the same context
to allow for comparison. The report then makes use of a cross-case analysis in order
to identify similarities and differences in how Education Service Providers address
sustainability within their supply chains. Main findings of the research confirmed the
conceptual framework provided by the literature and outlines how different Education
Service Providers adopt postures to the structuring of supply chains in order to achieve
sustainability. Recommendations for further research are also outlined, and possible
discussions are provided within the concluding chapter of the report.
Keywords: Sustainable Supply Chain Management, Service Industry, Customer-
Supplier Duality, Education Service Providers, Service Supply Chains, Sustainability,
Triple Bottom Line.
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................ 1
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW .................................................................................... 5
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ................................................................ 13
CHAPTER FOUR: THE BLUE CASE STUDY (By Bandela, W.) .......................................... 20
CHAPTER FIVE: THE YELLOW CASE STUDY (By Bandela, W. & Hay, T.) ..................... 28
CHAPTER SIX: THE RED CASE STUDY (By Hay, T.) ........................................................... 36
CHAPTER SEVEN: CROSS- CASE ANALYSIS ....................................................................... 44
REFERENCE LIST .......................................................................................................................... 54
Table of abbreviations
Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network
Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements
Corporate Social Responsibility
Customer-Supplier Duality
Education Service Provider
Education Supply Chain
Holistic Service Experience
Sustainable Education Supply Chain Management
Service Supply Chain
Sustainable Supply Chain Management
Sustainable Service Supply Chain Management
Triple Bottom Line
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Private remedial schools have slowly started to adopt Sustainable Supply Chain
Management (SSupCM) practices in order to address the growing ecological and
social need for sustainability. Before the adoption of the practice of SSupCM, private
schools have engaged in short-term practices that make them economically viable,
rather than looking at long-term sustainability. These practices were framed mainly
based on racial and class segregation. This paper will, therefore, explore the
Sustainability practices from three out of the six Western Cape private remedial
schools (also known as Education Service Providers or ESPs); and how these ESPs
implemented practices to achieve their Triple Bottom Line goals (Sustainability goals).
1.1) A brief history of the SA Education Industry Context
The Mandela government in 1994 restructured the Provincial Education Departments
as well as Tertiary education Departments, splitting responsibilities between 9 newly
formed Provinces. The South African Schools Act of 1996 was propagated to provide
for a uniform system for the organisation, governance, and funding of schools
(Chisholm, 2004). As it currently stands, South African public education is one of the
weakest performing education systems in the world (Mbiza, 2018). As such,
private/independent schools can meet the expectations of customers for a world-class
education that the public sector is struggling to supply.
1.2) Field of interest
The field of interest is that of Sustainable Supply Chain Management within the
specific context of South African private education. The composition of labour and
other activities within the value chain is key to achieving the long-term financial goals
of the for-profit ESPs. Thus, Sustainable Education Supply Chain Management
(SESCM) builds on the addressing of socio, economic, and ecological (green)
constraints of ESPs; and that the strategies built around resolving these constraints
can align between actors within the supply chain to create long-term sustainability.
1.3) Industry structure
Service Supply Chains (SSC) between businesses is still a relatively new concept in
the world of academia. An SSC is “the network of suppliers, service providers,
consumers and other supporting units that performs the functions of a transaction of
resources required to produce services, a transformation of these resources into
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supporting and core activities and the delivery of these services to customers”
(Baltacioglu et al., 2007, p. 112).
Figure 1 Service Supply Chain structure as adapted from Baltacioglu et al.
Fig.1 illustrates the structuring of a supply chain within the context of service providers.
The figure integrates into the conceptual framework that is presented in Chapter 2
(Literature review) as Fig.1 seeks to introduce the reader to the concept of an SSC.
As shown above, service delivery is the core of a service supply chain. ESPs require
the inputs from both suppliers and consumers into the organisational processes for
the supply chain to function. Sakhuja and Jain (2012) emphasise that one of the
significant contributors to the performance of an SSC is that of substantial social
capital. Social capital refers to the network that organisations build and maintain
through continuous relationship management. As illustrated in Fig. 1 above, bi-
directional relationship management between ESPs and actors in the SSC plays a
role in the quality of service delivery. Fig. 1 also introduces a concept known as
Consumer-Supplier Duality (CSD), which is one of the characteristics of an SSC as
consumers have to give inputs into the process in order for the service to be delivered.
The importance of CSD derives from the core focus of service delivery, which is the
co-creation of value from the inputs of ESPs and consumers.
The Education industry within South Africa takes in children from as young as four
and, through continuous education, aims at producing educated individuals with a
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National Senior Certificate at the end of matric. According to Chisholm (2004), the
Private Education Industry within South Africa spans across several market segments,
or as the National Department of Education terms it: “Bands”. Chisholm (2004) further
elaborated that there are two main educational bands; namely: The General Education
and Development (GED) band; and the Further Education and Training (FET) band.
The taught curriculum is influenced by socioeconomic, administrative, and
technological changes within the SA Macro environment; which was brought on by
globalisation and the abolishment of Apartheid (Chisholm, 2004).
Private remedial schools as ESPs are structured around delivering a Holistic Service
Experience (HSE). The HSE results from the delivery of core activities which are the
core competencies that ESPs seek to provide to consumers. Chisholm (2004)
explained that primary and secondary activities support these core activities. Within
the education industry, the HSE usually comprises the central core activity; which is
providing a conducive learning environment for students. Depending on the structure
of the school, one or two more activities may add to the HSE, such as providing a safe
learning environment; as well as a clean and green environment (Chisholm, 2004).
Each school that formed part of the study had a different approach to the HSE, and
further discussion and explanations follow in each case.
1.4) Importance of the management issue
Identifying the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) constraints of sustainability on SSCs and
finding solutions to these will have a positive impact on the sustainability goals of the
organisation. Problem-solving is an essential task that management must address
within their supply chains. Constraint identification is crucial to improving how ESPs
conduct relationships with actors in a way that promotes sustainable practices across
the supply chain. Constraint identification applies to ESPs as service delivery focuses
on developing social change within societies through providing holistic education
experience to children ages 5-18 (Habib & Jungthirapanich, 2010). The achievement
of social development goals occurs when ESPs have a clear understanding of the
actors within the supply chain (service integrators, customers, consumers, and other
stakeholders). The performance of the supply chain relies on the integrated
coordination and collaboration of actors in order to ensure the attainment of desired
outcomes (Habib & Jungthirapanich, 2010).
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1.5) The problem
Our review of previous literature in the field of service supply chain management
revealed a critical gap; which is a lack of empirical research on the topic. The reason
for this deficit is that most authors mainly explored supply chain management in the
product-based context.
Furthermore, very little research is available in the education supply chain field. Hence,
one can see the need for filling the identified gap and making an addition to the body
of knowledge. Sakhuja and Jain (2012) mentioned that the research on SSC is still
very scant; this was agreed upon by Basu, Jeyasingam and Habib (2016) who
emphasised that the body of knowledge about the structure of supply chains in service
businesses is still insufficient.
1.6) Research questions
The main question that this paper poses is: What sustainability practices are used to
achieve the triple bottom line goals in for-profit SA private remedial schools?
Four interrelated sub-questions will support the central question:
1) How sustainability goals structure Environmental posture adopted by an ESP?
2) What are the sustainability goals pursued by these schools in their supply chains?
3) Whom are the actors involved in the Education Supply Chain?
4) What are the strategic and tactical practices utilised in the Supply Chain
Management of these schools?
1.7) Report summary
The next seven chapters have the following structure: Firstly, the introduction of a
literature review that seeks to explore the different concepts relating to Sustainable
Service Supply Chain Management (SServSCM) from the perspectives of different
authors. Secondly, an incorporated methodology chapter is discussing the qualitative
approach used within the research process; as well as the sampling selection of the
selected participants in chapter 3. Next, there will be 3 case study write-ups reflecting
empirical findings that the research has produced from the three ESPs. After the write-
ups, cross-case analysis will present similarities and contrasts within the cases relating
to the developed conceptual framework in chapter 2. Finally, a recommendations
chapter for further study and the conclusion to the report is present in the final chapter.
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2.1) Introduction
The literature review has been formulated to discuss prior research discussed on the
concepts that were chosen to answer the question of this paper. Several authors have
contributed to the body of knowledge in the SSupCM field, but a specific focus on the
service industry is absent. (Habib & Jungthirapanich, 2010). Thus, some literature
relates more broadly to the service industry and less relate to ESPs specifically.
2.2) A review of past literature on SServSCM
2.2.1) Sustainable Supply Chain Management
The literature on defining SSupCM has been evolving over several years. Thus a
systematic review of literature on both product-based and service-based supply chains
must be explored. According to Carter and Rogers (2008), SSupCM is the practice of
addressing the operational needs of the present without compromising the ability to
meet the future needs of the next generation. In Green SCM, Sarkis (2003) describes
three levels of ecology based on the amount of recycling and waste reduction that
occurs within the supply chain: (1) closed system with no recycling, (2) some recycling
factors, and (3) utterly open system with very little waste after operations occurred.
The key to sustainability encompasses the notion of the Triple Bottom Line (TBL). TBL
goals refer to goals that are set by the organisation to achieve specific short-and long-
term outcomes. According to Reuter et al. (2010), these outcomes affect the
ecological, economic, and social environment that not only impacts the performance
within organisations but also supply chains and industries. The authors further explain
that by formulating sustainability goals, organisations also create sustainable strategic
practices that govern their pursuit of performance. Hence, Wu and Pagell (2010)
suggest that by adopting specific operating principles and technical standards, an
actor within a supply chain structures their engagement in such a way that aligns them
with the common goals of the supply chain. Engagement relates to ESPs as the nature
of education surrounds the idea of providing students with a space to develop
themselves; both intellectually and socially. By addressing these needs, ESPs create
better individuals within society (Habib & Jungthirapanich, 2010).
6 | P a g e The Environment
An environment is not just nature; everything is an environment. According to Oxford
(2019), an environment refers to “the setting or conditions in which a particular activity
is carried on.” Hence, sustainability goals that the ESPs pursue are determined by the
constraints that they face within the ecological, economic, and social environments.
Ecological goals of ESPs.
Within the Education Supply Chain (ESC), the physical environment is where service
delivery takes place (servicescape). When looking at the ecological environment, Wu
and Pagell (2010) described it as the physical environment that the industry finds itself
in; issues within this environment often encompass things such as waste, pollution,
and unsustainable use of resources. Through addressing these constraints, ESPs
adopt goals related to the greening of the environment through initiatives such as
recycling, reducing and reusing of resources (Liu et al., 2017). These goals are shared
with different actors in the ESC as the creation of sustainability in the long-term
depends on their collaboration and cooperation.
Economic goals of ESPs
Wu and Pagell (2010) refer to the economic environment as the business setting in
which the activity of profit generation is carried on. For-profit businesses will often take
a strong focus on their economic performance. Often, Organisations will not engage
in value creation projects that cannot be financially justified by the interests of
stakeholders on returns on investment. Hence, each ESP will set economic goals that
align with its financial constraints.
Social goals of ESPs
Ciliberti et al. (2008) explain the social environment as the setting in which human
intersectionality (merging of different demographics such as race, class, education
level and religion) exists and the conducting of organisational engagement activities
with the labour-force and customer base. Ciliberti et al. (2008) further make mention
that this environment is one of the most complex and elaborated on the fact that
organisations design social goals by creating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
portfolios to generate change in the Social Environment. Ciliberti et al. (2008) also
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made mention that working conditions for the labour force is also a key factor within
the social environment. Environmental Posture
The environmental posture refers to the way that an organisation approaches its
supply chain within an industry and determine which sustainable goals they prioritise
above others. The adoption of an environmental posture directly affects the
formulation of operating principles and technical standards within the value chain of
the organisation (Wu & Pagell, 2010).
Different types of environmental postures
A Service provider can adopt one of the four critical environmental postures as
identified by Wu and Pagell, (2010). According to the authors, the environment first
posture implies that the environmental values of management motivate sustainability
objectives and that the organisation from its inception has an intention of being
environmentally sustainable; and that social issues come secondary to that of
environmental issues.
Moreover, the opportunity first posture is driven by the economic opportunities that
exist within the market and not necessarily follow the values of the managers. The
authors also discuss the community first posture by arguing that an organisation
addresses critical environmental issues in reaction to threats to the socially
sustainable values that they have adopted. Finally, the equal footing posture entails
that an organisation conducts its business sustainably and their ecological and social
sustainability efforts directly benefit actors within the supply chain. (Wu & Pagell,
2.2.2) Actors of the Service Supply Chain
Like supply chains of manufactured products, service supply chains comprise of
different actors, who contribute either directly or indirectly to the delivery of the service
through their involvement in different activities in the supply chain. The nomination of
these actors may vary from an author to another. However, the roles played by these
actors are quite similar. Sakhuja and Jain (2012) have confirmed these statements by
saying that the delivery of services involves the participation of different actors
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including the service provider, customers and suppliers providing other resources or
services necessary to produce these services. Liu et al. (2017) have further agreed to
these statements in their conceptual framework and mention different actors in the
SSC including a service provider, a service integrator, a customer as well as other
stakeholders. Relationship Management between Actors.
The review of different authors in SSupCM has shown the importance of sharing good
relationships between different actors as it directly impacts the creation of
sustainability in supply chains. As a confirmation, Muller et al. (2012) suggest that the
actors’ ability to develop and maintain long-lasting and constructive relationships with
trustworthy suppliers is a crucial determinant that contributes towards sustainable
performance and eventually leads to value creation. Organisations can create
sustainability only if they are willing to work as a group by pursuing common goals.
Wilding et al. (2012) have also stressed the importance of all suppliers to work together
by suggesting that firms need to engage in collaborative practices with different
suppliers within their supply chains.
Hence, collaborative and cooperative relationships between actors are essential for
the success of all activities in any supply chain. This statement is corroborated by
Ciliberti et al. (2008) by arguing that the inability of suppliers to collaborate in a supply
chain can result in negative eventualities such as poor quality of products or services. Bilateral/ Bi-directional Supplier Relationships
Most papers discussing management approach to relationships between suppliers
have led to the conclusion that sustainable development is more likely to happen when
different actors of a supply chain work towards achieving the same goals.
Organisations working cooperatively with suppliers adopt the bilateral or bi-directional
approach. Muller et al. (2012) corroborate these statements by suggesting that value
sharing, which implies the adoption of the bilateral approach in a supply chain through
collaboration leads to the creation of sustainability.
Moreover, Schaltegger et al. (2014) have also agreed to these statements by implying
that collaboration in SSupCM plays a significant role in amplifying competitive
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advantage in a supply chain. The authors stressed that engaging in strong
relationships allows for reducing risks and uncertainty. Lu (2011) has further implied
that having a collaborative approach to the structuring of the supply chain results in a
more dynamic network of information flow and shared value creation. Therefore, it is
evident that the bilateral approach to supplier relationship as referred to by some
authors consists of sharing values and information along the supply chain through
communication and collaboration. Customer-Supplier Duality (CSD)
Sakhuja and Jain (2012) have also mentioned information sharing between different
actors of the SSC. The authors suggest that the bi-directional nature of services
encourage relationship development between customers and service providers.
Relationship development is indicative that the quality of relationships that they
maintain with their suppliers positively impacts both product-based and service-based
supply chains. Sakhuja and Jain (2012) further argued that a service provider requires
the input of its customers in order to achieve an output. In that sense, customers also
contribute towards the creation of sustainability within supply chains becoming
themselves suppliers.
This concept constitutes as CSD. Sampson (2000) has confirmed these statements
by implying that customers play two roles in a supply chain; one is to receive and
“consume” the service while the other is to provide the key input needed by the service
provider. CSD shows the duality in the two roles played by customers within the SSC.
Therefore, deduction allows for collaborative relationships between customers and
service providers are strongly encouraged as it directly impacts the quality of the
service delivery. Customers actively participating in information and value sharing
within their supply chains can be considered as suppliers. Basu, Jeyasingam and
Habib (2016) have also agreed to this statement suggesting that customers are the
primary suppliers of the SSC, and their input may be required for the actual service
delivery to occur.
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2.2.3) Different levels of Service Supply Chain Practices.
Constraints regarding sustainability are becoming more pertinent in societies, and
organisations find themselves in a position where their viability is in jeopardy. As a
result, many service providers that are striving to remain profitable and competitive will
adopt sustainability practices that are aligned with their environmental posture (Liu et
al., 2017). These practices branch into tactical and strategic levels that a service
provider can implement. According to Sakhuja and Jain (2012), there is a strategic
level for each SSC practice that an ESP has. Also, the tactical levels divide into
different operational levels of SSC practices. Basu, Jeyasingam and Habib (2016)
argued that the strategic level could also refer to as the planning level of these SSC
The decisions made on a strategic level within the SSC are the least structured and
the most imaginative. Such decisions concern general direction, long-term goals,
philosophies and values (Habib & Jungthirapanich, 2010). The planning level is of
medium-term and supports the strategic decisions in the organisation; this often
encompasses both leadership and top management engagement within the
development of goals to achieve sustainability (Basu, Jeyasingam & Habib 2016).
However, on the tactical level of the supply chain, ESPs are concerned with the daily
decisions which are used to support the decisions of the strategic or planning level by
dividing them into green, organisation, plan, implementation (Liu et al., 2017). Thus,
actors of the supply chain should share a system of standards in order to appropriately
structure the operational frame while ESPs should monitor upstream providers in order
to establish evaluation systems, especially to that of social responsibility. (Liu et al.,
2.2.4) Value Chain in Service Delivery
The value chain in the Educational Supply Chain differs by dividing value-adding
activities into primary activities such as logistics, processes, services as well as
marketing and sales. On the other hand, secondary activities include administrative
infrastructure management, R&D, and human resource management. Hence, Porter
(1985) argues that the value chain analysis is a potent strategic planning tool that
organisations can use in order to gain a competitive advantage. Garcia and Ortega
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(2012) also discuss the value chain in the SSC of education institutions suggest that
primary activities in the ESC are focused at the recruitment of students activities which
are the admissions. Furthermore, other primary activities include the education
process of students; the graduation; the identification of needs and using
communications mix to segment and academic support. Secondary activities within
the ESC include structures and control systems, employee recruitment and upskilling,
class technology management, procurement of supplies and equipment (Garcia and
Ortega, 2012).
2.3) The proposed conceptual framework for the study
Figure 2- Conceptual Framework as adapted from Liu et al. (2017, p. 19)
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The above conceptual framework has been created in order to illustrate the TBL
aspects, SSC actors and SSC practices that can be adopted by service providers in
order to achieve their sustainability goals (Liu et al., 2017). The framework suggests
that supply chain actors must work collaboratively, on both a strategic and tactical
level, in order to achieve sustainability within the supply chain. The framework also
suggests that external stakeholder groups (such as NGOs and Government) are also
contributors to the creation of value and sustainability in the chain. The framework also
depicts that the actors of the SSC exert power over what sustainability goals to pursue
and the adoption of SSC practices to achieve long-term goals.
An observation of the conceptual framework shows that there is a creation of value
between the actors of the SSC. ESPs exposed to problems within the supply chain
can be differentiated by the quality of sustainability within the chain (Garcia & Ortego,
2012). These differential elements that are mentioned by the authors are policies and
procedures, active monitoring, collaboration, investor relations.
2.4) Conclusion
Based on the reviewed literature, it concludes that the service-based supply chains
are as crucial as product-based supply chains. However, there is a lack of available
empirical research conducted on the topic. Thus, the field of Supply Chain
Management can benefit from research that explores not only Service Supply Chains,
but also the concept of sustainability within the Education Supply Chain.
The available literature covered shows that sustainability goals have a direct impact
on the types of practices adopted by the ESPs and that these practices directly
originate from both the tactical and strategic levels. It is also evident that actors within
the SSC need to work collaboratively to achieve sustainability. Engagement between
actors on the sharing of visions, goals, values and information is also shown to be an
influence on the success of sustainable development in supply chains.
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3.1) Introduction to chapter
This chapter will explain the reason for conducting the research. The methodology
serves the purpose of giving structure to the collection of data to be used in the cases.
The research questions have a general direction of analysing three main aspects of
SServSCM, namely: Sustainability goals, Relationships of actors within the supply
chain, and SSC practices. The methodology addresses the interpretivist research
philosophy that was adopted. The research purpose of this report is exploratory as it
is trying to establish what types of SSC practices ESPs deploy in order to ensure
sustainability. The approach of the paper is qualitative as it deploys the case study
method, making use of open-ended questions during the interview stages. The case
study method was the most effective tool in this report as it utilised a cross-case
analysis of the three cases in order to identify similarities and differences on the three
main aspects of SServSCM that was outlined by the conceptual framework. This
chapter will firstly look at the participants of the study. Then, a discussion on the
research design, ethics, and trustworthiness issues. Data collection strategy, data
analysis and synthesis will then follow. Lastly, the chapter discusses the limitations to
the study and a summary.
3.2) Research sample
The research participants were chosen from the Western Cape using the available list
on the Western Cape Education Department’s website. Through filtering the list with
keywords of “remedial”, “private”, and “skills” a list of 15 potential participant schools
populated the list. Each school was contacted and briefly interviewed to establish if
they were willing to be participants. Three out of the 15 schools comprise the cross-
case analysis as they were the best fit for the study. The reasoning for the choice in
schools is that they enable students to receive a better education than what they would
have received if they remained in mainstream schools. Remedial private schools are
much more socially conscious, and because there are not many articles that focus on
CSD in SServSCM, it was interesting to explore this. The social aspect of SSupCM
literature has limited empirical research findings on the concept, coupled with a lack
of literature on SServSCM; this study could prove interesting with the use of a case
study method. A non-probability sampling method of Judgemental sampling obtained
the framework by which we sampled the participants. Sampling choice was due to the
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principals and headmasters of the schools being chosen to be the interviewees of the
research was very educated on the strategic and tactical practices implemented within
their schools. Below is a table that outlines the demographical data of each of the three
schools in order to give a more generalised view of the cases chosen for this study:
ESP Name
Operations Officer
of school
This school educates
students with autism
using the Award
Development and
Accreditation Network
(ASDAN) curriculum.
This school
students by offering
skills phases in a
profession of the
student’s choosing
Years in
Size of staff
Primary school
High school
Primary school
High school
Key SC
ASDAN network
Consent form
Appendix A
Appendix B
Table 1- Demographic profiles of the schools
3.3) Research design
The design that for this study was to do individual case write-ups of each ESP and
then using a cross-case analysis, identify the similarities and differences in how these
ESPs address their TBLs, supply chain relationships, and supply chain practices.
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Through reviewing literature, the case study method was an excellent design for this
study as it creates personal insights into each case and then enables the researcher
to compare cases with one another, thus lending to the validity of the findings within
the report.
The research design first started with the formulation of a questionnaire instrument for
use during the interviews of the schools. The three schools were interviewed
separately and with a spaced time frame of two months to allow for data collection and
analysis in order to identify any new patterns that might not have arisen that was not
part of the initial findings, such as the use of on-premises psychologists. Data
collection took place through face-to-face interviews that were between 60 to 90
minutes long.
The scheduling of interviews was at a time in the day when the Principal/headmaster
was not too busy. Recordings of the interviews took place for transcription as well as
the research team took on two roles, one researcher who interviewed with the other
observing (taking notes and timestamps) and doing any follow-up questions that the
main interviewer had missed. The transcription of the recordings took place, and
concepts were colour coded and then arranged. After arranging the data, write-ups of
the cases ensued. After all the cases were written up, a table was made to summarise
each case side by side. Then, the writing of the cross-case analysis that identified
similarities and differences between the three cases completed the analysis.
3.4) Ethics and trustworthiness issues
Ethical considerations were an important aspect that was addressed early in the
research process, not to cause problems later in the study. The first ethical
consideration was that of consent, after contacting the schools were and agreeing on
interview times; a consent form was sent out to participants that had to be signed. This
form stated the purpose of the research and what their role in the process is. Another
critical ethical aspect that was a concern for participants is that of privacy of students,
and thus the team was not allowed to interview students or their parents. The last
ethical concern was confidentiality; we ensured this by changing the names of the
schools to colours in order to ensure privacy and confidentiality.
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Regarding trustworthiness, credibility was ensured by having the interviewee of the
schools review the draft case study and have the chance to amend incorrect or
misinterpreted information. Dependability was ensured by reviewing different literature
on the case method and summarising the processes of the schools by using the
information given by the Principal/Headmaster. Transferability of findings was ensured
by centring the design of the interviews around the conceptual framework and general
structure of a service supply chain.
3.5) Data collection strategy
The collection strategy held the submission timeframe of the MRR712 module in mind.
A decision on travelling to the schools would be the best way to make the interviewees
feel comfortable as it is in a familiar environment. The interviews took place in the
offices of the principal, headmaster, and COO to ensure that the environment would
be quiet enough to make recordings as clear as possible. Having clear audio would
eliminate any uncertainty during the transcription stage.
The interview followed in a professional manner where participants were offered
bottled water at the beginning of the interview. The stating of names of the researchers
took place at the beginning of the interviews, and any questions regarding the research
received answers before continuing. During the interview, guiding questions were
asked to allow interviewees the freedom to express their opinions on the topic. Probing
questions were utilised to dive deeper into some of the answers to gain information
that was more relevant to the researchers’ interests. The recording of data took place
on a mobile device, and after the interview, uploading of the recording to an encrypted
password folder in Google Drive, where the two team members had exclusive access,
was made.
The information needed in order to answer the questions were all related to the three
main aspects of the conceptual framework constructed in the literature review chapter.
The three key aspects each had specific concepts that needed exploring. Below is a
table outlining concepts and some of the questions asked in order to identify the
concepts within the specific case (for full interview guide, see appendix D)
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Key Concept(s)
How does the organisation define sustainability?
How is long term sustainability achieved at the organisation?
Who are the actors within the supply chain and what role do they
Describe the bilateral and unilateral relationships, both
downstream and upstream in the supply chain.
How can the customers and consumers be suppliers within the
supply chain?
What are some of the day-to-day operational practices that the
organisation implements in order to address the sustainability
What are some of the long-term strategies that are adopted by
the organisation in order to address the sustainability goals
Is there anything of interest that should form part of the analysis?
Table 2 Questions related to main concepts as adapted from the interview guide.
3.6) Data collection method
Each business had its way of addressing its sustainability goals, but all the goals
remained mostly the same through the 3 cases.
There were some strengths and weaknesses to the gathering of case evidence that
was evident. Below is a table that outlines these aspects to the case evidence
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The instrument was stable
and adaptable to all three
Access to specific information was
not given and purposely withheld
in order to protect themselves
Digital and thus no paper trail
(Ecologically friendly)
Can be quickly deleted and not
Information gathered was
targeted and focused on the
Academic jargon that required
clarification for interviewees was
in the instrument.
A walkthrough of the
premises to see if reality
matched the gathered data
was allowed in order to
increase the reliability of
Time-Consuming as some
premises were larger than others,
and it was costly due to physically
travelling to the premises to
conduct interviews and
Table 3- Strengths and Weaknesses of data gathering as adapted from Yin (2010)
3.7) Data analysis and synthesis
The analysis of the data started with picking the transcriptions apart to identify the
answers to the research questions. Through analysing the transcriptions, the team
was able to identify the concepts of the conceptual framework in all the cases. Coding
of these instances within the cases took place in order to keep track of all the data.
After completing the individual write-ups of the cases, a summary of all three cases,
along with the links to the main concepts, was made in order to aid in the cross-case
analysis (Table 4 in chapter 7).
When looking at the summary, apparent similarities and differences within the cases
were evident, and thus, the cross-case analysis was easier to do as all the data
followed the same format. An additional table was formulated to show the similarities
and differences between the cases (Table 4 in Chapter 7).
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As the first case write-up took place in the first semester, we had to revise the
conceptual framework to accommodate new findings, and thus a re-edit of the original
case was necessary in order to align it with the present two cases. This editing was
not too tricky as the interviewee gave an abundance of information and thus a revisit
to the documentation and archives was all that was needed.
3.8) Limitations and conclusion
There were critical limitations to the study that would have increased the validity and
quality of the outcome had they not been there. One of the most significant limitations
to the study was limited research on the topic of sustainability in Educational supply
chains. Thus, the team had to pull from different articles in order to solidify the literature
review enough to bring across the point of the concepts. Another limitation occurred
at the data-gathering stage as scholars and parents were not allowed access to due
to the terms set by the Principal, Headmaster or the Operational Manager from each
school. Access to these actors would have given additional insight into the pressures
between the relationships of actors of the SSC in a combined effort to co-create value
and achieve the shared goals of sustainability.
A limitation of the case study method is that the findings of the three cases cannot be
generalised to the broader population. Another significant limitation to this method was
that it was incredibly time-consuming; having to replicate the process three times over
was very tedious, and much time on transcribing and coding of the data took place.
Based on the information provided in this chapter, a drawn conclusion was that the
case method was an effective way to display the three different cases and that the
cross-case analysis was useful in analysing the empirical findings of the evidence and
comparing it to the formulated conceptual framework in Chapter two.
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4.1) Background of the school
The organisation of interest is a private special needs school that provides education
and support to children with barriers to learning and the emphasis on autistic children.
For this case study, the school is known as the Blue school.
The school was founded in 2016 and started initially in a house with only three children.
For the past three years, the number of students at the school had been progressing
and currently counts 80 students. In September 2018, the school decided to move to
bigger premises where it is currently operating. Along with the increase in the number
of students came more staff members, and the school currently counts 30 full-time
employees and therefore satisfies the criteria of an SME. The Blue School has
strategically increased its staff members as individualised attention can only be
possible when many educators are available, and the ratio educator-student are as
low as possible. For example, in the mainstream private schools, the ratio is
approximately 1:16, while the ratio at this school is 1:4. Hence, it is evident that
individualised attention is more significant in the Blue School than in mainstream ESP.
The school uses the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) curriculum for
most children and the ASDAN curriculum for children who do not fit to CAPS. CAPS
is a policy document introduced by the Department of Basic Education for all the
subjects listed in the National Curriculum Statement for Grades R - 12. CAPS provides
guidelines on how lecturers should teach and assess students. ASDAN is an
accredited British course that provides programmes and qualifications to young
people. Students registered with this curriculum are offered 18 modules to complete
within three years. The programmes and qualifications aim to develop knowledge that
will allow students to gain employability skills and prepare them for the possibility of
further education or training as well as the prospect of becoming employable
individuals. Also, extracurricular activities such as cricket, rugby and swimming are
offered to help students grow and improve their motor skills.
4.2) The Holistic service experience related to the Value Chain.
The school has a holistic service experience of providing quality education to special
needs students. Its holistic service branches into two core services which include
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providing both a conducive learning environment and a safe and clean environment
for students. Primary and secondary activities sustain these core services. Primary
activities supporting the former core service include teaching the curriculum and
support students emotionally. Also, secondary activities supporting the core service
includes training and upskilling teachers, structuring the classroom environment and
employing on-site therapists and psychiatrists. Primary activities supporting the latter
core service include safety compliance and cleaning the premises. Secondary
activities of the latter include procurement of the necessary materials to comply with
safety regulations; and clean the premises. To ensure the successful creation of value
in the delivery of the service that the school provides; collaboration, interaction and
effective communication needs to exist between different actors involved in the service
supply chain. The supporting services discussed further in the case study.
4.3) Sustainability Practices
Like most organisations, the Blue school has defined both its goals and mission. While
its goal is to achieve social inclusiveness of students with barriers to learning, its
mission perfectly complements this goal as there is a misconception that exists around
people with disabilities. The mission of the school is then to change the negative
perception of people with autism in society. In that sense, the social, ecological and
economic practices implemented by the school align with its goal and mission as well
as the creation of sustainability.
Social Practices
To achieve social sustainability, the school provides education and support to students
with barriers to learning; thus allowing them to become individuals with the abilities to
sustain themselves in society. This school has implemented the ASDAN curriculum as
long with the CAPS mainstream curriculum, to provide life skills that will allow students
to become socially responsible individuals.
Furthermore, the school organises outings such as visiting museums and other places
where students have the opportunity to socialise and learn. The school also uses
animal therapy as a fun way of reducing emotional distress and depression that
students’ experience, and on-site therapists and psychologists further provide this
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Ecological Practices
In terms of ecological sustainability, the Blue school understands the impact of caring
for the environment, especially when dealing with young people. Hence, the school is
actively involved in recycling and students also contribute to the process. The school
uses bins of different colours to classify different types of waste. Moreover, students
have undertaken an environmental project in which each student is required to plant
a seed and ensure to grow a tree. This initiative is done to help students develop a
sense of accountability and responsibility and further aligns with the second core
service of the school, which is providing a clean environment to its students.
Economic Practices
In terms of financial sustainability, the school does not receive subsidies from the
government and thus, depends entirely on tuition fees paid by parents in order to
operate. Also, regular fundraising events take place consisting of market days where
different types of products made by students and teachers get sold to the community.
Teachers and parents usually use word of mouth to invite people to participate in these
charitable events and the funds raised will be redistributed into the school’s
programmes. Furthermore, the school seeks to create a strategic business unit,
registered as a non-profit organisation, with the prospect of raising funds for
disadvantaged children who cannot afford to pay the tuition fees. The vision of the
future non-profit organisation is providing training to the general public, including
parents in order to raise awareness about autism.
4.4) Supply chain actors
Research and experience conducted in the sustainability of supply chains have shown
that the success of organisations heavily depends on the quality of the relationships
existing between actors of supply chains. (Muller et al., 2012). Hence, developing and
maintaining good relationships between all actors of the supply chain ensures the
successful creation of value. This school has close relationships with different actors
of the supply chain and has developed different means of communication such as the
use of WhatsApp groups involving parents, teachers, therapists, psychologists as well
as the principal.
Moreover, the school has a parent board group which gathers each term to share
concerns or to share a glass of wine. An occupational therapist will sometimes join the
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meeting to discuss with parents and teachers. These communication channels are
essential to monitoring the progress of each student as well as ensuring that all the
actors involved in the learning process are effectively working towards achieving the
same goals. The different actors involved in the supply chain are mentioned down
below and classify as two separate categories, namely: external suppliers and internal
4.4.1) External suppliers
WCED: The school registers with the Western Cape education department as well as
each student. The school has to complete annual accreditation and submit specific
documents such as financial statements.
SACE (South African Council of Educators): All the teachers at the Blue registers with
the SACE, which is a professional council aiming to enhance the status of the teaching
profession through appropriate registration, management of professional development
and inculcation of codes of ethics for all educators.
Fire Safety Inspectors: According to the law (SANS 10400 Part T), the workplace
environment should have all the correct equipment, such as fire extinguishers and
first-aid kits. In order to be able to operate, the Blue school has completed a fire safety
and evacuation plan, which consisted of being trained by a professional inspector.
After completing training, the inspector would provide accreditation confirming its
compliance with the rules and regulations. Furthermore, monthly surprise inspections
at the school take place, during which an inspector from SafeTech would visit the
school to ensure that they comply with these standards. The compliance is necessary
and perfectly aligns with the second core service of the school; which is to provide a
safe and clean environment for students.
Service integrator
In the supply chain of service delivery, the service integrator is the actor playing the
mediator role by bridging the relationship between the service provider and the
customer. In this particular case, service integrators are therapists and psychologists
while parents are customers of the service delivery. In fact, due to the intangible nature
of the service delivery that schools provide, customers of the service are seen as the
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ones paying for the service delivery while consumers are the ones using the actual
service. In that sense, parents are customers and students are consumers. Thus, one
can see the mediator role played by service integrators (therapists and psychologists)
in the service delivery
As an illustration, the Blue school works closely with occupational therapists and
counselling psychologists as they provide emotional support to students and in some
instances, they would also refer children with learning barriers to specific remedial
school that they consider will fit their patients’ needs. From there, the conducting of a
two-week observation takes place by the school and students will then enrol with the
parents’ agreement. Thus, the relationship between the service provider and the
customer occurs through a referral from the service integrator. Moreover, the
importance of service integrators increases by their participation in the service delivery
process. This school has an occupational therapist and two counselling psychologists
present at the school premises where they continue to provide care, support and
assistance to students in need.
The school does not have a governing body of parents; however, proper
communication channels exist between the school and different actors of its supply
chain. For example, parents actively partake within the learning process. The school
and parents maintain constant communication via “Hi mama” which is a software
application developed to connect childcare programs to parents through digital
communication. Hence, parents use the application daily to report on their children’s
mood, diet and activities; and feedback gets shared with the school. Thus, bridging
the gap between learning that happens at school and the one happening at home.
The Blue school works with non-governmental organisations such as churches and
day-care centres to raise awareness about autism as well as providing resources. For
example, parents will usually supply needed goods such toiletries, stationery and
clothing to the school in a collection bin which will then be distributed monthly to a day-
care centre that caters to children with autism in Khayelitsha.
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Business partners
The school also collaborates and maintains good relationships with independent
businesses such as hairdressers and restaurants. The independent businesses are
related to the school’s ASDAN curriculum as a big part of the programme is to provide
job shadowing for students. The collaboration aims at securing job opportunities for
students after their completion of that specific curriculum.
4.4.2) Internal suppliers
The service provider
In the supply chain of service delivery, the service provider is an organisation that
provides the service delivery. The Blue school, in this specific case, is the service
organisation delivering education to students. The role of the school in the supply
chain is to provide education and support through its product offering, including a
conducive learning environment and different curriculums.
A conducive learning environment involves the infrastructure of the school itself and
especially its classrooms. Hence, this school ensures that every classroom is perfectly
suitable to fit with the students’ needs. For example, the classrooms are sensory-
friendly to avoid unnecessary stimulation of students as many would feel
uncomfortable to be in an environment that is noisy and too bright. Moreover, the Blue
school as a service provider has the responsibility of providing a clean and safe
environment to its students through the cleaning of the premises and the compliance
with rules and regulations of fire and safety.
Teachers/ Educators
Teachers at the Blue school are well trained and prepared to provide education and
support to students. They are carefully selected to ensure that they have the
necessary skills to cater to young people and little children in some cases. Hence,
teachers work hand in hand with the school ensuring successful daily progress of their
students through a great dispensation of the programmes offered by the school’s
curriculums. Moreover, teachers will further assist students in their daily medication
intake. This situation will usually occur when a specific student needs to take
medication at a specific time while they are at school. In that case, parents will have
to provide the medication along with a written permission letter stating that the teacher
can administer the medication.
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Because of the intangible nature of the service that a school delivers, students play
two roles; the first one being the consumer of the service as they are the ones
benefiting from it. Moreover, students contribute to the creation of value in the supply
chain through by participating in activities such as fundraisings and recycling.
4.5) Supply chain practices
Strategy Level
The school chose to use the product differentiation strategy as a basis for competitive
advantage in the market space. This competitive strategy flawlessly aligns with the
core values of the school as a remedial and special needs school. Special needs
students require unique and individualised attention; which is the reason behind the
1:4 ratio maintained by the school. By having smaller classes, the school is
maintaining high standards and ensures to keep a competitive advantage position in
the market. However, the school plans for accommodating a more significant number
of students with the prospect of growing even more prominent. Thus, the long-term
goal of the school is to open duplicable models of the school in different areas in the
Western Cape, as the school has identified the growing need for individualised
education in the private education sector as an opportunity to franchise and increase
its profitability.
Furthermore, the school is planning to expand its facilities and launch a programme
that will create job opportunities for students who are currently completing their
curriculum and will soon leave the school. This employment opportunity represents a
bright perspective, especially for students who are unable to work in a mainstream
work environment, as it will allow them to integrate more quickly in society after
graduating from matric.
Tactical Level
At a tactical level, the school ensures to provide training to teachers, parents and the
general public to raise awareness for children with barriers to learning especially
people with autism. The implementation and use of effective means of communication
between the actors is also an illustration that all the actors involved in the supply chain
aligned with its goals and contribute towards the value creation.
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Along with the expansion plan, the school plans to hire more staff members to
compensate with the increase of students. The increasing of staff will allow the school
to maintain its model built based on providing education for students with barriers to
learning through individualised attention.
4.6) Conclusion
As a conclusion, the data collected about the Blue school has revealed important
information regarding the school itself as well as its supply chain. The dynamic
relationship existing between different actors of the supply chain, the structure of
holistic service as well as the practices adopted by the school indicates the existence
of sustainability within the supply chain. Both internal and external suppliers are
interdependent and complementary in their roles and are working collaboratively to
ensure a successful service delivery through value creation.
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5.1) Background of the school
The organisation of interest is a private remedial school that provides education and
care to students with barriers to learning. For ethical reasons, the school will be
referred to as the Yellow school.
The Yellow school was founded in 2001 in a Sunday school church on the same
premises and was comprised of only ten learners and three teachers. Through the
past 18 years, the school had moved to much larger premises to accommodate its
current 290 students and 53 educators. Thus, the number of the total number of staff
employed by the school is currently 70 and qualify the school as an SME. It has
branched out into 4 phases according to the guidelines of the Western Cape Education
Department (WCED); namely: the junior phase, senior phase, skills phase, and high
school phase.
The remedial nature of the school is the main reason restraining the principal from
further expanding the premises to accommodate more students. The individualised
attention that students with learning barriers can only be provided when the educator-
student ratio is high meaning each classroom must contain a limited number of
students. In the Yellow school, this ratio is 1:7, which means there is a teacher for
seven students. This is one of the main characteristics of remedial schools that create
a difference with private mainstream schools.
The school uses the CAPS curriculum which is a policy document introduced by the
Department of Basic Education for all the subjects listed in the National Curriculum
Statement for Grades R 12 and provides guidelines on how lecturers should teach
and assess students. Moreover, the school has also added a skills phase to go along
the Caps curriculum. The skills phase is a unique educational structure at the school
which aims at developing students’ practical abilities and technical skills, and it
comprises ten different fields referred to as Career opportunities that include:
leatherwork, carpentry, farming, arts & crafts, computer, hospitality, entrepreneurs,
Edu-care, beauty and hairdressing.
According to the FET band, students must reach Grade 10 to be eligible to enrol to
the skills phase. Hence, the skills phase compliments the Caps curriculum as it equips
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students with technical skills and competencies that will allow them to become
responsible individuals in the community.
5.2) The holistic service experience related to the value chain
The school has the holistic service of providing quality private remedial education to
children with barriers to learning. This holistic experience is structured into three core
services which include providing a conducive learning environment; a safe
environment; and a clean and green environment. Primary and secondary activities
sustain these core services. Primary activities supporting the first core service include
teaching the curriculum and providing emotional support to students, and secondary
activities supporting this core service include training and upskilling teachers,
designing and structuring classrooms to create a conducive learning environment, and
employing on-site therapists and psychiatrists.
Moreover, primary activities supporting the second core service of providing a safe
environment to students include safety compliance with accreditors and ensuring that
a 24-hour camera surveillance system monitors the premises. Secondary activities
supporting this core service include procurement of the necessary materials to comply
with safety regulations as well as paying for the services of a security and surveillance
company. Finally, primary activities supporting the last core of providing a clean and
green environment service include procurement of necessary material to clean the
premises and development of ecological strategies such as recycling, reducing and
reusing to help manage waste. Both these primary and secondary supporting services
will be further discussed in the case study.
5.3) Sustainability Practices
Sustainability practices are developed and implemented to help the school achieve
goals and objectives. In fact, like most organisations, the Yellow school aims at
attaining specific goals, whether it is social, economic or ecological. Hence, the
practices that are developed must align perfectly with these goals in order to create
As a remedial school, the main goal of Yellow school is to educate and support
students with learning barriers in order to become independent and responsible
individuals that can become important for the community. In other words, they seek to
achieve social inclusiveness of children with barriers to learning. Therefore, the
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school’s sustainability practices are perfectly aligned with this goal. The school’s
social, economic and ecological practices will be discussed in detail down below.
Social Practices
The school seeks to achieve social sustainability by providing remedial education to
students who struggle in mainstream schools and require individualised attention
offered by private remedial schools. Thus, the school has implemented a skills phase
beside the Caps curriculum that is taught. All students from grade 10 can enrol to the
skills phase and choose a field among the ten options offered in the skills phase. The
skills phase allows students to gain technical and practical skills that will allow them
become employable after the matric competition. Also, the school has an equestrian
facility on their premises which is used as animal therapy to help students cope with
Additionally, the school uses project-based learning to teach children on the
importance of social responsibilities. For example, each year, every grade group is
given a community project that they have to complete by the end of the year. In
addition to community projects, the school also engages in raising awareness on
environmental issues among the students. For instance, a bumper sticker initiative
was ran in 2018 where children had to sell stickers discussing about water crisis in the
Western Cape and how to save water. Furthermore, the school teaches students to
become responsible and independent by cleaning their classrooms. Hence, this
strategy instils discipline and creates well-rounded individuals to society when
students leave the school. To encourage students in this sense, the school has
implemented an incentive initiative which reward students for complying with rules.
The initiative is a reward programme with recompenses such as “The best student of
the week” and others.
Ecological Practices
The school understands the importance of being environmentally responsible and
seeks by sharing this vision with their students by educating them through ecological
practices such as recycling, reducing and reusing. As mentioned above, the school
partakes in recycling, reducing and reusing of old furniture and other assets that they
receive from parents and other organisations.
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Furthermore, the school has developed and implemented three systems of waste
management within its premises. The first one consists in utilising coloured bins in
order to organise waste and decides what will be used to the recycling plants. The
second consists of collecting bottle caps and bread tags from students that will be
hand over to the church for donation to a foundation. This foundation (the sweetheart’s
foundation) collects bottle caps and bread tags and provide wheelchairs for disabled
individuals. Lastly, the third system uses the manure from the school’s livestock to
create fertiliser that is then used within the Farming skills phase.
Economic Practices
In terms of financial sustainability, the school receives subsidiaries from the WCED;
which is more or less R14500 per month, meaning R50 per student. The school claims
that this funding has decreased to 20% of what they had been receiving six years
before 2019. Hence, the majority of the expenses and business activities of the school
are mainly financed by tuition fees as the subsidiaries are not sufficient to cover all the
costs needed by the school in order to be operational. The school has also
successfully developed and implemented different economic practices that will help
create economic sustainability. For example, the school benefits from external
organisations such as Sanlam and Vodacom that choose to dispose their old assets
such as desks, bookcases, chairs and other types of furniture.
Moreover, the school partakes in economic practices that also involve students. For
example, students in the carpentry skills phase are involved in the maintenance and
restoration of broken furniture; which helps the school minimise the cost of purchasing
new furniture. Also, the school regularly organises fundraising events which are
referred to as entrepreneurship days. During these fundraisers, different types of
products are made from the collaboration between students in different fields of the
skills phase. For example, students in the farming skills phase ensure to provide
certain ingredients such as eggs to the hospitality skills phase to produce cupcakes.
5.4) Supply chain actors
Many studies conducted in SSupCM have shown that supply chains that are created
sustainability were done so by effective collaboration of actors through excellent
communication and thus, maintain long-term relationships. Muller et al. (2012)
suggested that two types of relationships can exist between different actors of a supply
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chain. The first type of relationship is referred to as unilateral or pushing while the
other type relationships are referred to as bilateral or sharing relationship. Therefore,
the school has shown to maintain unilateral relationships with government bodies and
accreditors while maintaining bilateral relationships with the other actors in the supply
The school tries to create a friendly learning environment by encouraging all actors
within their supply chain to build long-term and conducive relationships and that also
implies building relationships outside that of the academic spaces. All actors involved
in the supply chain of the school are classified into two categories: (a) external
suppliers and (b) internal suppliers. Each category of actors or suppliers includes
different actors playing different roles in the creation of sustainability within the supply
chain and maintain specific relationships with the school as well. Their roles and the
type of relationships they maintain with the school are discussed down below.
5.4.1) External Suppliers
The school must register with the WCED in order to be operational. The relationships
existing between the school and this governing body are unilateral or pushing
relationships as it strictly relies the school’s compliance of standards and regulations
imposed by the WCED. Moreover, the school is expected to complete annual
accreditation by submitting specific documents such as financial statements.
The school is accredited with Umlhani, which is the umbrella under which all ESPs are
registered. The school must be accredited by Umlhani in order to have a license to
operate as a private school. The accreditation is strongly focused on meeting the
requirements of the regulatory body. The school must submit certificates of
compliance to Umlhani. Thus, it is evident that the school maintains unilateral or
pushing relationships based on compliance.
Service integrator
According to Sakhuja and Jain (2012), the supply chain of service delivery, the service
integrator is the actor playing the mediator role by bridging the relationship between
the service provider and the customer. Hence, the school maintains bilateral
relationships with occupational therapist and psychiatrists as they help bridge the
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relationships between the school and parents. In fact, therapists and psychiatrists
bridge the relationships between the school and parents by referring their patients
(students in this particular case) to remedial schools. Although parents are the ones
making the final decision regarding the education of their children, service integrators
allow the parents to consider remedial education as in many instances mainstream
schools do not provide the individualized attention that is needed by students with
learning barriers.
The school has a governing body of parents and ensure to maintain sharing
relationships via the school’s newspaper and by organising termly meetings during
which different issues and concerns are shared and strategies are developed to solve
these issues. Moreover, parents are also considered as suppliers of the school by the
participation in the creation of sustainability through donation of furniture and other
NGOs the school donates to the sweetheart’s foundation
The school engages with non-governmental organisations and churches such as the
sweetheart’s foundation to provide them with resources as mentioned above.
Business partners
The school maintain bilateral relationships with organisations such as Sanlam and
Vodacom which are considered as donators. The organization donates furniture and
office supplies to the Yellow school in order to upcycle assets instead of having to
procure new ones.
5.4.2) Internal Suppliers
The service provider
According to Sakhuja and Jain (2012), the service provider in the supply chain of
service delivery, a service provider is the organization that provides the service deliver.
In the specific case, the Yellow case is considered as the service provider as its role
in the supply chain is to provide remedial education and emotional support through its
product offering including a conducive learning environment and different curriculums.
Hence, the Yellow school as the service provider is responsible to provide a conducive
learning environment and ensure that the service delivery is provided to students in a
clean and safe environment.
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Teachers/ Educators
The school provides quarterly training to teachers in order to ensure they are fully
prepared to educate and support students with learning barriers. The school ensures
to carefully select teachers who have the adequate skills to cater for students who
need individualized attention. Hence, the school maintains bilateral relationships with
teachers as they work hand in hand in ensuring a successful daily progress of their
students through a good dispensation of the programmes offered by the school’s
curriculums. Moreover, teachers will further assist students in their daily medication
intake. This situation will usually occur when a specific student needs to take a
medication at a specific time while they are at school. In that case, parents will have
to provide the medication along with a written permission letter stating that the teacher
is designated as responsible to administer the medication. Furthermore, the
relationships between teachers and students are considered as dynamic as teachers
do not solely focus on the educational part of the service delivery. In fact, the school
strongly believes that students will only prosper when their emotional and
psychological well-being have been looked after.
Students are considered important actors in the supply chain of the school due to the
roles that they play in the creation of sustainability in the supply chain. In fact, the
school does not only consider students as consumers of the service delivery but at the
same time, they are also perceived as suppliers as they contribute to the creation of
sustainability through different sustainability practices that they are involved in. For
example, students of different fields of the skills phase participate to create
sustainability by producing goods during fundraising events and by maintaining and
repairing furniture. This dynamics show that the school maintains bilateral
relationships with students as they work together to achieve goals and create
sustainability. Furthermore, students are also encouraged to develop bilateral
relationships with other students. In fact, they are expected to demonstrate
compassion and patience towards others and conflictual situations such as bullies are
strongly condemned.
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5.5) Supply chain practices
Strategy Level
Although the Yellow school does intend to expand its premises, they would like to
reach the full maximum capacity of 300 students by accommodating ten more
students. The school upgraded their infrastructures from Wendy houses to
prefabricated buildings in order to increase the accommodation capacity of students
per classroom and also to increase their overall aesthetics in order to meet the
pressures of parents. In addition, another strategic level decision to address ecological
sustainability was to enable the resources to be shared between different skills
phases. For instance, the manure from the equestrian facility is used in the agriculture
skills phase to grow vegetables.
Tactical Level
As mentioned above, the school practises three systems of waste management in
order to reduce the amount of waste material being sent to landfills; reuse materials
that would have been discarded otherwise; and recycle materials to different NGOs
such as the church to help with sustainability initiates of the community. Also, the
Yellow school tries to create responsibility within students to be clean and mindful of
waste within the class room by having a chore board for every class.
5.6) Conclusion
To conclude, the data collected about the Yellow school has revealed important
information regarding the school itself as well as its supply chain practices. The case
revealed that there is dynamic relationships existing between different actors within
the supply chain. The structure of holistic service as well as primary and secondary
activities adopted by the school indicates that the school has successfully created a
degree of sustainability within its supply chain. Both internal and external actors are
interdependent and complementary in their roles and are working collaboratively to
ensure a successful service delivery through value creation. The co-creation of value
within the CSD concept was shown by the interaction of students within the skills
phases and the way that inputs from students contribute to the achievement of the
school’ s sustainability goals.
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6.1) Background of the school
The Red school is a private remedial ESP whose approach to the holistic service
experience is private personal education. It has been trading since 2012 and has
campuses both in Gauteng and the Western Cape. The school initially started with
only ten students but has grown to include 184 students on both campuses, and the
teacher-student ratio is 1:8 with 32 permanent staff members. This ESP has two
educational streams, mainstream curriculum (CAPS as provided by the WCED), and
then an add-on for students with sensory sensitivity. Their business model aims at
providing holistic service experiences to both FET and BED bands within education.
Their competitive advantage within the space is individualised education for students
with barriers to learning. They provide FET students with job-shadowing opportunities
as part of the ASDAN curriculum.
The Red school has coined the term TheraED (Therapeutic education) as the way that
they describe their curricular offerings to the students. This curriculum focuses on
creating and fostering applicable skills within the work environment for graduating
students (Office management, Gardening, Culinary studies). The Red school has
partnered with local businesses in order to offer and incorporate job shadowing into
its service offering for students.
6.2) The holistic service experience related to the Value Chain
The holistic service experience of the Red school is providing quality and
individualised education to students with learning barriers. This experience is delivered
to the consumer using three core services that are integrated into the value chain
utilising primary and supporting activities, namely:
(1) A conducive learning environment. The primary activities to this core service
are the teaching of the curriculum to the students; of which a supporting value chain
activity is the upskilling of teachers; and the procurement and maintenance of
tangibles that must form part of the classroom environment (i.e. Tables, chairs, boards,
(2) A safe and clean learning environment. The prior mentioned uses the primary
activity of health and safety compliance; of which procurement of needed materials
and infrastructural upgrades to meet accreditation standards forms a part of. Cleaning
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of the premises is also a primary activity of which procurement of organic cleaning
supplies also forms part of as stipulated by their policies is a supporting activity.
(3) A green environment. The primary activity delivers the final core service of
environmental initiatives. The delivery of the service takes place by implementing
recycling facilities into the infrastructure of the campus. The school also aims at
creating a well-balanced green lifestyle for students through the procurement of
organic fruits and vegetables for the making of meals.
6.3) Sustainability Practices
Social Practices
The Red school has the vision of producing a quality student that can be a contributing
member of society. The quality of the product is within the student” Headmaster
(2019). They focus on creating social inclusion of students in both the school and in
the surrounding community. As this is a school for students with barriers to learning,
their social focus is producing graduates who will be able to function within society.
They do this by not only providing a conducive learning environment but a conducive
corporate environment that gives prospective graduate students a sense of belonging
in the formal job market. Organisations ensure that the education and practical
experience imparted onto students is of universal design in order to ensure conducive
learning for the prospective workforce that this school produces; into the surrounding
The Red school seeks to foster the culture of inclusivity between students; this
manifests within the multiple cases of empathy between students. Students from
public schools expressed that they felt a sense of mismatching, disconnect, and
isolation from their peers within public schools; but not from the Red school where
cognitive differences are not the prevalent determinant for inter-student engagement.
The headmaster made mention that there are some students (as young as the age of
9) that have shown suicidal tendencies because of the social exclusion that they have
experienced in mainstream public schools due to their cognitive abilities (Headmaster,
2019). It is not only the physical environment that students navigate through that
contributes to a conducive learning experience, but also the social engagement
between students. This social aspect forms part of one of the core services that the
school offers, which is a safe environment for students, with no instances of bullying.
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Ecological Practices
The Red school aims at creating ecological sustainability not only within their business
practices but by engagement with external supply chain actors. They have ecological
goals of clean green environments, realised through the practice of closing the loop
(reduce, reuse, and recycling practices). The Red school forms part of what is
identified by the greater community as the Valley (The geographical location that they
find themselves in that is a significant contributor to the lifestyle mind-set of the
community). According to the Headmaster, the Valley is a network of farms and local
entrepreneurs that seeks to create a sustainable lifestyle of organic food consumption
and healthy living. The Red school engages with multiple vendors for not only the
procurement of organic fruits and vegetables for the students to consume; but
agricultural education for students.
The local farms also allow the school to partake within the agricultural process to better
educate the students on the importance of sustainable and organic growth of
produce. The farms also allow market days where students can attend (with adult
supervision) and sell their goods (produced by students); from baked treats (that align
with the dietary policy of the school) to self-made products. The prior not only boosts
entrepreneurial intentions within students but also gives them a sense of community
by executing a single plan for raising money for the school.
The Red school has a picturesque servicescape (The land on which they deliver the
service) filled with nature around every corner. The previous business that operated
on the premises was a B&B; thus, there is a very homey feel to the atmosphere which
is accentuated by large trees that are more than 60 years old. The Red school has
only increased the greening of the premises by planting more indigenous flora to lend
to the natural beauty of the campus. They only make use of natural pesticides as to
not put the health of their consumers at risk. They also have a garden on the premises
that is utilised by one of the skills phases to teach students the practical skill of growing
their plants. The school also implements green thinking by having students partake in
tactical practices of reducing, reusing, and recycling of waste on the premises.
The geographical location of the Red school lends to its reputation of being a healthier
alternative to other schools as the community that the Red school forms part of is in a
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very health-conscious area and thus want their children to adopt this lifestyle at an
early age.
Economic Practices
The economic goal of the Red school is to be profitable. In order to deliver the holistic
service experience, the school has to show a profit as it remains a private ESP. In
order to fund the goals as mentioned above, their tuition fees are expensive. The Red
school also makes use of different initiatives in order to raise additional funds for the
school, such as the market days and entrepreneurship days.
There is a significant placement of financial burden onto the shoulders of the customer
(parents). These financial burdens are due to the lack of support in funding that is
being given by the WCED for operational expenses. The headmaster noted that even
fundraising initiatives rely on the financial input of parents in order to be a success.
The school has implemented the practices of tuition collection and fundraising in order
to become more financially sustainable. They have succeeded in economic
sustainability as they are currently showing a profit.
6.4) Supply chain actors
The Red school needs to create and maintain key relationships with both internal and
external suppliers within its SSC. The Red school create long-lasting relationships as
there is a common goal between actors in the supply chain of remedial education and
how these students are benefiting from the relationship.
6.4.1) External suppliers
The Red School has to register with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED)
as a Private remedial school. The department looks more at the ratios of students
rather than the quality of the school’s infrastructure and curriculum. By being
registered, the Red school is contributing to the network of accredited schools that are
legally allowed to operate and thus allow parents to find them on the WCED website.
The Red school strives for excellence in whatever they do and thus having the best
accreditation falls into their missions. They partner with several private accreditors; as
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the public accreditors that are provided by the WCED take too long to go through the
accreditation process. The Red school forms part of the:
Independent School Association of South Africa (ISASA). This association is
responsible for the quality control, registration of staff, and evaluation of
South African Council of Educators (SACE). SACE is the registrations authority
that all educators must register with in order to be able to teach within an
Educational Institution in South Africa.
Service integrators
The Red school makes use of a network of educational psychologists that will
recommend students with barriers to learning to their school. To assess the muscle
tone and kinaesthetic of students, the psychologists conduct a physical evaluation;
after that, the headmaster conducts a cognitive evaluation in order to place students
into the correct educational stream. The headmaster of this school mentioned a
shocking statistic that 30% of students from public schools require remedial attention
but are jammed into classes of over 35 students and pass with marginal results. The
School also makes use of on-site educational psychologist and counsellors who do a
continuous evaluation of students’ progress for the School to be able to report back to
the parents.
The ASDAN curriculum aims at creating employability in students with barriers to
learning. The School has a diverse network of independent businesses and
organisations that help give the full ASDAN experience to high school students by
using job shadowing as a method of education and skills building. This School sends
students to these organisations in order to job shadow employees such as
receptionists and clerks in order to gain practical knowledge of what it means to be an
integral part within the culture of a business environment.
Regarding engagement from parents within the supply chain, they are the customers
as they are the actors that are paying for the rendering of services to the consumer
(which is the student). The degree of participation of parents within the supply chain
is 50/50 according to the headmaster (50% of parents being active participants, and
50% of parents being not-so-active participants). Active parents engage in the co-
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creation of value in the supply chain as they form part of parental councils that decide
and review some policies of the school. They also are responsible for adopting the
food policy and many other policies outside of the school for students who require
The Red school makes use of the surrounding farms in order to supply them with
organically produced fruits and vegetables. They also make use of a sole proprietor
that prepares gluten- sugar- and dairy-free consumables that can be sold by students
at the campus tuck shop. The surrounding Farms are an established community
initiative created to encourage members of society to live a healthier lifestyle by
consuming organically grown foods.
The farms work with the school in prospects that the older students will be volunteering
to work there to not only upskill in agriculture but entrepreneurial intentions as well.
The headmaster identified that there are termly “Healthy kids food market in the Valley”
that the older students participate in that form part of the culinary and agriculture
ASDAN classes.
6.4.2) Internal suppliers
The Red school regularly engages within the upskilling of their teachers as new
methods and approaches to remedial and individualised education emerges every
term. As the Teachers are the main point of contact between the school and their
customers and consumers, the Red school needs to equip their teachers with all the
needed resources to facilitate value co-creation within the supply of the holistic service
The Red school has a very responsive relationship with the students because the
institution is a remedial school. The servicescape that the students engage within has
been constructed to suit their educational, social, and ecological needs. Students are
internal actors within the supply chain because of the co-creation of value that exists
between these two actors within both the supply and value chain of Educational
Institutions. The students co-create value along with the Red school by becoming the
input into specific processes such as market days, ASDAN job shadowing participants,
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Farm helpers and adopting the food policy as set out by the school even when they
are not on the campus.
6.5) Supply Chain Practices
Strategy level
On a strategic level, the Red school emphasises its differential strategy by capitalising
on the class sizes and the services that they offer. Within the classrooms, there are
no more than ten students; this creates a much individualised approach to the
educating of students. This approach, in turn, creates a better-quality outcome for both
the student and the Parents.
The structure of the conducive learning environment is around the basis of sensory
stimulation of remedial and special-needs students. How the Red school engages with
its students, fall into the customer management section of the service supply chain. In
addition to this culture, the physical environment also must be conditioned by the
institution. Some aspects of this conditioning form part of the accreditation framework
of accrediting institutions. In this case, the Red school created sensory rooms as part
of the offerings provided by the school for students who experienced “sensory
overload”. The prior was usually a result of students who were overstimulated by
environmental factors. The headmaster of the school indicated that through the
continuous engagement of Job shadowing from external organisations; instances of
students who experience sensory overload decreased. The prior was due to the
conditioning and adaptation to the working environment; this created a labour force of
students with barriers to learning that could perform expected tasks within the
The Red school has also standardised the way that Teachers engage with students,
both on a cognitive and sensory level. The former exists through the tangible
resources that are at the disposal of teachers (Non-scented markers, upward-lit
classrooms, soft boards instead of whiteboards) and the latter exists through the strict
dress-code that the teachers must adhere to in order to accommodate sensitive
sensory learners. Teachers are not allowed to wear any colour other than navy blue
as it is both a sensory neutral colour and a colour of authority. The teachers are not
allowed to wear sharp smelling deodorants or perfumes as this could be distracting for
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students. They are also not allowed to wear noisy jewellery as the sound may be
distracting to students with auditory sensitivities
The Red school has also integrated themselves within the supply chain by creating
meals themselves for the students (thus ensuring more control over the dietary intake
of students) and by employing on-site educational therapists that evaluate the
progress of students.
Tactical level
Attention medication such as Ritalin and Concerta used by students with barriers to
learning help them to learn easier. This medication, although having short-term
concentration benefits for students, could have long-term detrimental side effects such
as pre-adolescent depression. The Red school, through dietary policies and practices,
try to regulate the energy dispersion levels within their students. This practice seeks
to limit, and in some cases, eliminate the need for the use of concentration medication.
The Headmaster has identified that some parents within the supply chain practices
are not as involved as other due to the perception of the process of remediation and
the outcome that it will have on their children. Some parents believe that remediation
will happen quickly and that they will place their children in mainstream schools after
three years or so at a remedial school. Thus, one of the bigger social goals that the
Red school tries to achieve is that of educating not only students but parents as well.
The prior mentioned activity is to increase the buy into the vision of what the Red
school is trying to accomplish. The Red school hosts and facilitates open talks with the
community in order to change the perception of what “remedial” means and how the
process works. The headmaster has also indicated that some parents turned away
from the school as they could not align themselves with the strict food policy.
6.6) Conclusion
This School extract sustainability within its supply chain by implementing both primary
and secondary activities within the value chain. It extracts Social, Ecological and
Economic sustainability through its culture; and partnerships with external supply
chain actors based on the independent goals; and its supply chain practices, both at
a tactical level and strategic level.
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7.1) Introduction
This chapter consists of a cross-case analysis of the three case studies covered in chapters 4, 5 and 6. The analysis is conducted in the context
of the research questions and draws upon a comparison of the similarities and the differences established between the cases. A table summarising
the critical findings of the three cases concerning the key concepts of our research topic follows below. The cross-case will build on this table as it
related to the key concepts of the conceptual framework.
Sustainability Goals
Social inclusiveness
Community awareness
Maintain the natural integrity of
the school’s landscape.
Transform the lifestyle of both
students and parents to be more
ecologically conscious.
Strives to make the environment
cleaner and greener by involving
students in ecological practices.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are
the centre focus.
Providing and maintaining a clean,
green, healthy environment for
students by involving students.
economic viability
Maximise profitability
Environmental Posture
Environment first posture
Opportunity first posture
Community first posture
Bilateral relationships with
Unilateral relationships with
government and accreditors
Customer-Supplier Duality
(consumers seen as suppliers)
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Tactical Practices
Provide training to
Having on-site therapists and
counsellors for students
Using corporate culture in
order to create a friendly
Using natural pesticides on the
plants to avoid harm.
Procurement of natural fruits and
vegetables from vendors
Several recycling initiatives
Reusing old furniture and assets.
Using the capabilities and output
of skills phases to close the
supply loop to other skills phases.
Undertakes an ecological project
of tree plantation with students
Hosting fundraisers through
entrepreneurship days
Upstream use of labour
resources to produce assets
instead of buying new ones
Strategic Practices
Standardisation of the
learning environment to
create a feeling of belonging
and social inclusion for
Implementation of the food
policy to enforce healthy
lifestyle standards.
Collaboration with farms within
the Valley to provide organic
meals to students.
The incremental increase in
tuition fees to maximise profit.
Upstream integration of
operations to achieve
Upgrading of infrastructure to
meet the pressure of parents for
better facilities.
Standardization of educator-
student ratio as to maintain
individualized attention.
Standardisation of employee
uniforms to establish authority.
Expansion of the natural beauty of
the campus by involving students
in the gentrification of the school.
Expand facility infrastructure to
accommodate more students.
Table 4. Summary of Key Findings.
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7.2) Analysis of the cases in the context of the research questions
Figure 3: A Modified model to present findings
Figure 3 is the modified model to the conceptual model that was proposed in the
literature review chapter. The changes that were brought about to the model were
preliminary focused within the concept of the triple bottom line goals. The reason for
the adjustment, as evident in all three cases, was due to evidence of environmental
posture as outlined by Wu and Pagell (2011). Every ESP had essentially adopted a
different environment posture. This in turn, has a direct effect on the prioritization of
sustainability goals pursued by the ESP; and the structuring of strategic and tactical
practices implemented within the SSC.
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7.2.1) What sustainability practices are used to achieve the TBL goals?
Social Practices:
The analysis of the cases has shown that the Blue school provides education and
emotional support to students using two curriculums (CAPS and ASDAN curriculums).
The ASDAN curriculum adapts to students with special needs who need job
shadowing opportunities.
However, the Red and Yellow schools follow the same social practices; which include
providing education and emotional support using CAPS curriculum as well as offering
a skills phase in different fields to help improve job prospects once students have
completed the curriculum.
Ecological Practices:
The Blue school involves its students in tree plantation projects while the Yellow
School involves its students in their recycling, reduce and reuse processes. Regarding
the Red school, ecological practices imply promoting the use of natural pesticides as
well as the promotion of healthy lifestyles to both parents and students.
Economic Practices:
All three schools have quite similar economic practices. They all have
entrepreneurship days to raise funds by selling food and other products made by
students. However, the Blue and Yellow schools also engage with external suppliers
(parents) for the procurement of specific furniture and other equipment. Moreover, the
schools also engage with internal suppliers (students) for the repair and maintenance
of their furniture. These practices allow schools to be economically sustainable by
saving financial resources.
7.2.2) What are the sustainability goals pursued by these schools?
Social Goal:
The social goal of all three schools pursue is to help students with learning barriers to
become socially included in the community. This implies providing remedial and
special education as well as emotional support to students to help them become
independent and responsible individuals. However, the Blue and Red schools also
seek to raise public awareness regarding remediation and children with barriers to
learning through training.
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Ecological Goal:
The Red school seeks to preserve the integrity of its landscape and influence students
to adopt healthier lifestyles. Yellow school strives to make its environment cleaner and
greener, and the Blue school seeks to provide and maintain a clean, green, healthy
environment for students.
Economic Goal:
The Red and Blue schools pursue quite similar economic goals which include
achieving economic viability and sustainable growth revenue by providing remedial
services. However, the Yellow school seeks to provide remedial services to maximise
its profit through expansion and increasing student capacity.
7.2.3) How does sustainability goals structure the environmental posture of ESPs?
According to Wu and Pagell (2010), the environmental posture refers to the way that
an organisation chooses to approach its supply chain and structures the priority of its
sustainability goals. The authors identified four types of environmental posture, namely
(1) the community first, (2) opportunity first, (3) environment first and (4) equal footing.
Our analysis of the cases has shown that the Yellow school has adopted the
opportunity first posture, which implies that the school prioritises its economic goal and
pursue its social and ecological goals afterwards. This is illustrated through the
expansion of its premises to accommodate the maximum capacity of students in order
to maximise its revenue.
In contrast, the Blue and Red schools have adopted the community first posture; which
implies that these schools prioritise social goals and pursue economic and ecologic
goals afterwards (Wu and Pagell, 2010). Both schools prioritise the emotional wellness
of their students by keeping the educator-student ratio very low. This means that the
classes are smaller, with only a few students per educator which increases the
individualised attention that children with learning barriers need. Moreover, both
schools have invested in having sensory classrooms which are more suitable for
students with learning barriers as their senses are very sensitive.
7.2.4) Whom are the actors involved in the Education supply chain?
All three schools engage with actors playing similar roles in their supply chains.
Sakhuja and Jain (2012) discuss the different roles played by these actors and suggest
that the supply chains of service providers include the service provider itself (the
remedial school in this case), customers of the service and other suppliers providing
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additional resources or services needed to deliver the actual service. Our analysis
revealed that all three schools identify themselves indeed as service providers and are
involved in their supply chains with other actors. These actors divide into two groups:
(a) external suppliers which include the government, accreditors, service integrators,
parents (customers of the service), NGOs and business partners in some instances;
(b) internal suppliers which include teachers and students (consumers of the service).
The nature of the relationships that exist between these ESPs and other actors
depends on the roles that they play in the SSC. All three schools engage in unilateral
relationships with the government and accreditors for registration purposes with the
WCED (Western Cape Educational Department). Also, the schools’ premises are
evaluated and accredited by inspectors in order to be operational. Muller et al. (2012)
refer to compliance-based relationships between actors in a supply chain as unilateral
or pushing relationships. The external suppliers (i.e. government and accreditors)
impose their standards and regulations to which the schools must comply with in order
to be operational.
In contrast, all three schools engage in bilateral or sharing relationships with other
actors in their supply chains (Muller et al., 2012). All three schools also engage with
external suppliers such as NGOs by providing donations and training to raise
awareness of children with learning barriers in the community. Moreover, three
schools also maintain sharing relationships with service integrators to provide
emotional support to students through counselling and orientation. The relationships
between all three schools and parents are also perceived to be bilateral as the schools
have successfully developed sharing relationships with parents and include them in
certain extracurricular activities.
The Blue school includes the parents in the learning process through their supply of
valuable information concerning their children to the school by using tools such as
WhatsApp groups and “Hi mama”. Parents are also suppliers in the Blue and Yellow
schools as they provide furniture and contribute with other resources necessary for
the value creation in supply chains. All three schools consider parents as customers
of the service because they pay the tuition fees. Moreover, all three schools identify
therapists, psychologists and counsellors as service integrators as they play the
mediator roles by referring students to the remedial schools in some instances.
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Lastly, in all three schools, students are perceived as considered playing two roles;
the consumer of the service as they are the ones benefiting from it and participants in
the co-creation of value within the supply chain through their participation in
fundraisings as well as other activities such as recycling, reducing and reusing.
7.2.5) What are the strategic and tactical practices utilised by these schools?
From a strategic point of view, the analysis of the cases has shown that both the Blue
and Red schools engage with the community to raise awareness regarding children
with learning barriers. The Blue and Yellow schools intend to expand their premises
and accommodate more students, and the Red school has implemented a food policy
to promote a healthier and greener lifestyle to both parents and students.
From a tactical point of view, all three schools ensure to provide either quarterly or
termly training to employees for upscaling and sensitisation purposes. Moreover, all
three schools ensure to procure the necessary products needed for their daily
operations. For example, the Red school procures dairy and sugar-free products as
well as non-chemical pesticides to comply with their food policy. In contrast, the Blue
and Yellow schools do not have food policies implemented in their programmes, and
thus, students can bring in their food.
7.3) Conclusion
In conclusion, the cross-case analysis of the three cases has shown similarities and
differences established between each case. In fact, key concepts within each case
study were discussed as related to the proposed conceptual framework. A modified
model was incorporated to illustrate the effect of environmental posture on the
adoption of SSC practices by ESPs. Moreover, similarities were identified in the
structuring of relationships between actors within the SSC of each school. Evidence
showed that both customers and consumers are considered as key actors in the
structuring of the supply chain due to the concept of CSD. In fact, their contribution
through inputs such as resources into the practices adopted by ESPs help to extract
sustainability within the supply chains.
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8.1) Introduction and summary of the report
This chapter will outline the report and summarise what the chapters sought out to
accomplish with the reader. The research report sought to take the reader through the
entire research process of analysing the sustainability practices that are utilised by
ESPs in order to extract sustainability within the SSCs.
The Introduction briefly outlined the background of the educational industry of remedial
ESPs within the context of South Africa. The interest of the study was to contribute to
the current body of knowledge in SServSCM by providing empirical evidence on
sustainable practices that are pursued by EPS. The report followed with a review of
existing literature on the topic of SSupCM and related concepts such as TBL goals,
Environmental posture, Holistic service experience, Relationships, Service Value
Chain, and SSC practices. From the literature, a conceptual framework was
formulated that guided the formulation of the research instrument that was used in the
interviews. The report continued with a methodology chapter outlining the sampling
frame of the participants and how the data collection strategy would unfold. This
chapter outlined the utilisation of the case study method of three ESPs. Three case
study write-ups followed in chapters 4-6 and were structured to represent the
conceptual framework created in chapter two. In chapter seven, a cross-case analysis
of the three cases was outlined with a side-to-side summary of all three cases relating
the key concepts being utilised at the beginning of the chapter. Finally, this chapter
will outline the key objectives that the research report set out to accomplish and
highlight the most exciting findings that resulted from the cases. Afterwards,
recommendations for further studies will be outlined, and the chapter will be
8.2) Research objectives and interesting findings
The research report set out to identify the SSC practices that ESPs implemented on
both a tactical and strategic level in order to be sustainable within their supply chains.
It also set out to identify the different actors that are involved within the SSC and the
types of relationships that they have in order to co-create value in the supply chain.
The main objective of the research report was to contribute to the body of knowledge
regarding sustainability within SSCs and how SSupCM concepts applied to ESPs.
What was found was that there is a relationship between the type of environmental
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posture that is adopted, and the types of SSC practices that are implemented within
the strategic and tactical levels of the ESPs. It was also identified that ESP’s are
influenced by modern-day external factors to be ecologically and socially sustainable.
These influences come from not only parents, but all the stakeholder groups such as
the Government, NGOs, and to some extent students. The co-creation of value within
the SSC of ESPs is derived from the relationship that is formed and maintained by the
ESP and customers (Both parents and students). A symbiotic like relationship exists
between these two actors of the supply chain where the customers become intrinsic
inputs to specific processes of the ESP in accomplishing quality service delivery of
holistic service experiences.
ESPs make use of parents in order to review policies that the school has adopted and
given input to them in order to accomplish a better quality of service. Students and
parents are used by ESPs to assist in fundraisers with the community in order to be
more economically sustainable.
ESPs also make use of businesses that are registered with their ASDAN curriculum in
order to forward job shadowing opportunities to students with barriers to learning.
ESPs make use of on-premises psychologists and psychiatrists to assist students with
non-academic related issues in being more socially sustainable. ESPs achieve social
sustainability through engagement with communities and NGOs on the issues of
remediation and why students require individualised attention; this is done in hopes of
removing the stigma that is associated with the word “remedial. Some ESPs also work
with disadvantaged programmes that have the same aim of remediation in order to
help one another.
ESPs achieve ecological sustainability through sourcing of locally cultivated fruits and
vegetables for their food programmes; and by making use of green principles in their
tactical level SSC practices. Often, ESPs rely on students on the premises to conform
to the green principles in order to co-create a more ecologically sustainable
8.3) Recommendations for further studies
More research should be done on how the students and parents perceive the practices
as this study was limited to the interviewing of principles only. Future research could
benefit from focus groups with other stakeholders such as parents, psychologists, and
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NGOs. More detail should also be focused on how the co-creation of value between
actors of the SSC are implemented and how actors contribute to the value chains of
ESPs. It is suggested that further research should also have a larger sample size as
three cases are not enough to make definitive arguments and conclusions.
8.4) Conclusion
This report has made use of the case study method in order to conduct a cross-case
analysis over three distinct cases relating to the SSC practices of ESPs in achieving
Social, Ecological, and Economic sustainability. It was concluded that, depending on
the type of environmental posture that is adopted, ESPs implement strategic and
tactical SSC practices that are structured with the use of unilateral and bilateral
relationships between stakeholder groups, service integrators, and ESPs in order to
deliver on the holistic service experience. This report outlined the practices used by
ESPs and concluded that SSupCM principles are not only applicable to the product-
based chains of industries; but also apply to the service industry.
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Full-text available
This paper addresses an Integrated Tertiary Educational Supply Chain Management Model (ITESCM) to achieve sustainability among the private universities in Malaysia. The application model highlights the role of Supply chain management and sustainable practices in Private Universities (PU). The model provides an overview to equip stakeholders of the educational supply chain with appropriate information to review and appraise the performance of private universities. This is with a view towards the fulfillment of ultimate goals in achieving the potential as providers of educational supply chain services and maintaining sustainability. The paper first provides an overview of recent research conducted in this area, followed by a detailed discussion on research issues that have been developed in ITESCM. It also provides the taxonomy of research and development in the area of integrated SCM and sustainability practices in higher education, particularly in private universities in Malaysia. The concept of integration in tertiary education supply chain and sustainability among the private universities is.
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In recent years, the interdisciplinary research of supply chains and sustainability has received extensive, yet gradual, attention; when compared to the rapid economic growth of the service industry, however, sustainable supply chain management has not been systematically explored yet. It has not only great theoretical significance, but also positive practical significance to provide a framework for the operation of a sustainable service supply chain from a sustainable development point of view. Based on the triple bottom line (TBL), we have analyzed related sustainable supply chain management research between 2006 and 2015, reviewed papers involving two or three bottom lines as well, and then introduced some classical frameworks for manufacturing supply chain management and service supply chain management. Afterward, by analyzing the differences between the manufacturing and service industries, we propose a framework of sustainable service supply chain management (SSSCM). Based on the impacts of sustainable development TBL on service supply chain participants, we have finally made a framework for sustainable operation facing triads service supply chain and proposed a future research agenda.
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Despite the extensive amount of academic work devoted to supply chain management, today the structure of service supply chains still remains unexplored. The aim of this paper is to verify and explain this gap with regard to the unique nature of the services industry and the applicability of existing supply chain management literature to service businesses. This paper develops a new model for service supply chains and applies it to the healthcare industry. The results of this study are relevant both to practitioners in the services industry and to researchers conducting further studies in the field.
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Purpose – The authors perform a large-scale literature review and use conceptual theory building to introduce the concept of sustainability to the field of supply chain management and demonstrate the relationships among environmental, social, and economic performance within a supply chain management context. Design/methodology/approach – Conceptual theory building is used to develop a framework and propositions representing a middle theory of sustainable supply chain management (SSCM). Findings – The authors introduce the concept of sustainability – the integration of environmental, social, and economic criteria that allow an organization to achieve long-term economic viability – to the logistics literature, and position sustainability within the broader rubric of SSCM. They then present a framework of SSCM and develop research propositions based on resource dependence theory, transaction cost economics, population ecology, and the resource-based view of the firm. The authors conclude by discussing managerial implications and future research directions, including the further development and testing of the framework's propositions. Originality/value – This paper provides a comprehensive review of the sustainability literature, introduces sustainability to the field of supply chain management, and expands the conceptualization of sustainability beyond the triple bottom line to consider key supporting facets which are posited to be requisites to implementing SSCM practices. The use of conceptual theory building to develop theoretically based propositions moves the concept of sustainability from a relatively a-theoretical treatment toward new theory in supply chain management.
It is necessary to integrate, coordinate and collaborate the different service operations performed in various organizations in order to deliver the services at the highest level of customer satisfaction. This integration can be done through a service supply chain, which includes different players/organizations connected by a network of activities. Based on literature review on Service Supply Chain, structure, decisions as well as the application area of service supply chain are highlighted in this paper. Service supply chain is then linked with key service operations with the help of a proposed conceptual framework. The paper also highlights the important research directions which can be a part of service supply chain. This paper is an attempt to conceptualize a service supply chain through a framework which helps in visualizing the integrated service network.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss what a fully sustainable supply chain might look like and the consequences that can be drawn from this view. Also, it develops a practical approach towards sustainability supply chain performance measurement and management. The paper develops an analytical framework for the assessment of approaches for the measurement and management of sustainability performance of supply chains (SPSCs). Little research has been conducted on the issues, existing methods and possible approaches to measure and manage SPSCs. Design/methodology/approach – Literature review and conceptual development of framework. Findings – The paper develops an analytical framework for the assessment of approaches for the measurement and management of SPSCs. Existing approaches discussed in the vein of improving supply chains and increasing recycling are examined in the light of our framework, and areas to extend the research on sustainability performance measurement and management are identified. Research limitations/implications – Opportunities for extension of research on sustainability performance measurement and management of supply chains are identified. Practical implications – The framework offers help to managers in their choice of sustainability performance measurement and management approaches. Originality/value – The paper provides a structured overview of sustainability performance measurement and management literature and approaches to supply chain management. The framework proposed provides a foundation for further research.
Supply chains are quite easy to define for manufacturing organizations where each participant in the chain receives inputs from a set of suppliers, processes those inputs, and delivers them to a distinct set of customers. With service organizations, one of the primary suppliers of process inputs is customers themselves, who provide their bodies, minds, belongings, or information as inputs to the service processes. We refer to this concept of customers being suppliers as “customer-supplier duality.” The duality implies that service supply chains are bidirectional, which is that production flows in both directions. This article explores the customer-supplier duality as it pertains to supply chain management, including practical and managerial implications.
The need for environmental protection and increasing demands for natural resources are forcing companies to reconsider their business models and restructure their supply chain operations. Scholars and proactive companies have begun to create more sustainable supply chains. What has not been fully addressed is how organizations deal with short-term pressures to remain economically viable while implementing these newly modeled supply chains. In this study, we use theory-building through case studies to answer the question: how do organizations balance short-term profitability and long-term environmental sustainability when making supply chain decisions under conditions of uncertainty? We present five sets of propositions that explain how exemplars in green supply chain management make decisions and balance short and long term objectives. We also identify four environmental postures that help explain the decisions organizations make when dealing with strategic trade-offs among the economic, environmental and social elements of the triple-bottom-line.
The number of organizations contemplating the integration of environmental practices into their strategic plans and daily operations is continuously increasing. Numerous initiatives have provided incentives for organizations to become more environmentally benign. Some of these regulation driven programs are mandatory, but increasingly numerous voluntary environmental programs are also introduced by organizations. Organizations view many of these environmental programs, which may include technological and organizational development projects, as possible alternatives for gaining or maintaining a competitive advantage. One environmental program area that continues to gain in importance is one that focuses on the external relationships among organizations. To help evaluate alternatives that will effect this relationship we present a strategic decision framework that will aid managerial decision-making. This decision framework is based on literature and practice in the area of environmentally conscious business practices. The focus of this paper will be on the components and elements of green supply chain management and how they serve as a foundation for the decision framework. We shall explore the applicability of a dynamic non-linear multiattribute decision model, defined as the analytical network process, for decision making within the green supply chain. Issues facing the modeling approach are also discussed.