Recipes for successful sustainability : empirical organizational configurations for strong corporate environmental performance

Kent WALKER*, Na NI, Bruno DYCK

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We examine 45 existing case studies of firms with strong corporate environmental performance (CEP) to empirically identify four organizational configurations for successful sustainability. These four configurations represent different combinations of variables describing a firm's external environment, organizational structure, and its strategy-related activities. More specifically, these configurations vary in having a benign or challenging external environment, a mechanistic or organic structure, a low-cost or differentiation strategy, hands-on or hands-off participation by the top management team, high or low consideration given to stakeholders, and a short- or long-term time orientation. Taken together the four organizational configurations introduce an understanding of equifinality for achieving CEP. In other words, given an adequate variety of ingredients, there are multiple recipes for successful sustainability. Implications for scholars, practitioners and policy-makers and other stakeholders are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-57
Number of pages18
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Volume24
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jul 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

Keywords

  • Case survey methodology
  • Configuration theory
  • Corporate environmental performance
  • Equifinality
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Sustainability

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