A theory-driven identification and ranking of the critical success factors of sustainable shipping management

Thi Minh Trang Tran, Kum Fai Yuen, Kevin X. Li, Gökcay Balci, Fei Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainable shipping management (SSM) is arguably the most challenging issue that shipping companies faced for the coming years. Hence, examining the critical success factors (CSFs) of SSM is vital. Although previous research mainly focused on the motives and implication of SSM, practical research that proposes how SSM can be implemented is still lacking. Therefore, this study fills the gap by identifying and ranking the CSFs of SSM with a theory-driven approach. The CSFs were developed through the theoretical lenses of five organisational theories, namely, stakeholder theory, resource-based view theory, relational-view theory, innovation diffusion theory, and contingency (fit) theory. Based on these theories, this study proposes stakeholders' focus, intra-firm management, inter-firm collaboration, new technology acceptance, and strategic fit as the CSFs of SSM. Further, 20 sub-criteria were identified to operationalise the CSFs. A survey questionnaire was pretested and then administered to 36 shipping companies in Vietnam. Thereafter, the obtained data were analysed using fuzzy analytic hierarchy process. The findings show that the CSFs of SSM, in descending order of their importance, are (1) stakeholders' focus, (2) intra-firm management, (3) new technology acceptance, (4) inter-firm collaboration, and (5) strategic fit. Moreover, results of this study show that among the sub-criteria of SSM, the most important ones are primarily related to monetary resources and tangible infrastructures and equipment. Additionally, SSM implementation in shipping companies can be improved by addressing the needs of stakeholders and aligning SSM activities with shipping companies' strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118401
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date13 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2020


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