Environmental supply-chain management in the computer industry: A transaction cost economics perspective

Christine Meisner Rosen, Janet Bercovitz, Sara Beckman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Our article uses the theory of transaction cost economics as a conceptual basis for examining the contracting mechanisms by which firms in the computer industry structure programs to encourage their suppliers to improve their environmental management systems and/or the environmental quality of their products. We explore the economic transactions hazards associated with asking suppliers to invest in the specialized technologies required to improve environmental performance of products and management practices and the relational contracting mechanisms computer industry firms are using to protect themselves against these hazards. We also describe the importance the managers we interviewed attributed to various transactions hazards and their perceptions of how well their firms were coping with them. We conclude by discussing questions for future research. By using TCE to frame our analysis of how computer manufacturers are structuring their relationships with their suppliers in the environmental area, we hope to show how social science theory can be used to enrich and increase the practicality of the work done by engineers and others in the mainstream areas of the industrial ecology field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-103
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2001


  • Contracting
  • Design for environment (DfE)
  • Environmental management systems (EMS)
  • Greening the supply chain
  • Original equipment manufacturers (OEM)
  • Semiconductors manufacturers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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