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Managing sustainability orientation: An empirical investigation of manufacturing firms

Paul Hong, Sandeep Jagani, Jinhwan Kim and Sun Hee Youn

International Journal of Production Economics, 2019, vol. 211, issue C, 71-81

Abstract: Despite increasing research on sustainability, there has been lack of understanding of how to manage front-end uncertainties and back-end complexities related to sustainability initiatives. We argue for management integrity and management accountability as two motivational mechanisms for achieving sustainability outcomes. In this study we also present how firms translate strategic intent of sustainability into product differentiation criteria which are further implemented through internal cross-functional processes and external network practices. Research model defines variables related to strategic sustainability orientation and sustainability performance outcomes. Data were collected from 749 enterprises from both advanced and emerging markets. Research results report that strategic formulation involves translating sustainability orientation in the form of order winning criteria to both cross-functional units and suppliers whereas operational execution requires integrating organizational processes to achieve complex performance outcomes. The findings also suggest that demand-based production becomes a crucial mediating variable for impacting comprehensive performance outcomes. This article also shows social aspects of sustainability in terms of internal (e.g., safety and health conditions) and external stakeholders (e.g., development and welfare of the society). Future research issues are suggested as well.

Keywords: Sustainability orientation; Management integrity and accountability; Empirical investigation; Strategic intent; Upper echelons perspective; Performance chain (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:eee:proeco:v:211:y:2019:i:c:p:71-81