Great Valley professor receives Fulbright to study global supply chain sustainability

WWangAssociate professor of marketing, Walter Wang, Ph.D., has been awarded a six-month Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research on global supply chain sustainability. Wang will travel to Hong Kong in January 2014 to study the internal and external drivers of firms' sustainable practices in their global supply chains. "The effort to make businesses more sustainable is at the forefront of global economic development, and the supply chain holds the key to the success of any firm's sustainability strategy," explains Wang. "Research on global supply chain sustainability is nascent and much is needed to advance our understanding."

Hong Kong presented an ideal setting for Wang's study because of the central role the city plays in the global transportation and logistics system. During his tenure, Wang will focus on data collection, namely, interviewing and surveying multi-national corporations with the assistance of colleagues from City University of Hong Kong, the host institution, and other collaborators. Since Wang has previously worked with these colleagues on numerous projects involving advertising, sales, and value chain management in China, he anticipates this project will break new ground in terms of the direction of research and scope of collaboration.

Sponsored by the State Department, the Fulbright program is the largest international exchange program in the United States that funds graduate study, research or teaching in more than 155 countries in order to promote global understanding. As Wang notes, "Fulbright scholarship is a prestigious honor that offers a unique and precious opportunity to study and research something that would have been impossible otherwise. On both professional and personal levels, this is going to be a tremendously rewarding experience to work in a vibrant, foreign environment on a truly meaningful and significant project."

Wang anticipates that the results of this study will contribute to a theoretical and practical understanding of sustainability in the global supply chain setting; help advance businesses and public policy makers devise more effective sustainability strategies; and enhance our capability to educate the next generation business leaders. "Penn State Great Valley is on its way to research and teaching toward globalization and sustainability, and the findings and experience derived from this Fulbright project will certainly add much to the mission," says Wang. "My students will directly benefit from such research and insights." He hopes to extend the scope of his research beyond marketing to integrate the whole value chain and tackle the fundamental question of sustainability that matters not only to businesses but also to society at large.