Salient task environment, reverse logistics and performance

Yi Chun Huang, Shams Rahman, Yen Chun Jim Wu*, Chi Jui Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the salient task environment on reverse logistics (RL) practices and organizational performance in the context of Taiwanese computer, communication, and consumer (3C) electronics retail industry. Design/methodology/approach – A hierarchical regression analysis was employed to test relationships between four constituents of the task environment and RL, as well as relationships between RL and environmental/economic performance. In addition, a regression analysis was used to examine the mediating effect of RL on relationships between the constituents of the task environment and environmental/economic performance. Data and information collected from a sample of 284 companies from the Taiwanese 3C retail industry were used for analysis. Findings – Results suggest that three out of four constituents of task environment including government agencies, suppliers, and customers are associated positively with RL activities. In other words, as the salience of the constituents of the task environment increases, their level of influence on the firm’s RL also increases. This study also found the mediating effect of RL, indicating that superior performance emerges when a company’s RL matches the salient task environment. Practical implications – The findings provide an insight into the relationships between the constituents of the task environment, RL, and environmental/economic performance which can assist firms within 3C retail industry in designing and developing appropriate strategy for RL. In practice, some retailers, especially SMEs, have outsourced their RL to professional recyclers. Investment in RL activity may be an option for some 3C retailers. Originality/value – While previous research provides a strong foundation to further develop RL and subsequent policies, analysis of the factors affecting the decision processes to implement RL specially in the retail sector is scarce. This study fills this gap.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-1006
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 5


  • 3C retail industry
  • Economic performance
  • Environmental performance
  • Reverse logistics
  • Salient task environment
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transportation
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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