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Managing Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility Efficiently: A Review of Existing Literature on Business Groups and Networks

Olena Liakh () and Francesca Spigarelli ()
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Olena Liakh: Department of Law, University of Macerata, Piaggia della Libertà, 2, 62100 Macerata, Italy
Francesca Spigarelli: Department of Law, University of Macerata, Piaggia della Libertà, 2, 62100 Macerata, Italy

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 18, 1-1

Abstract: Given the global relevance of business groups (BG) and networks as efficient organizational forms for corporate sustainability and responsibility systems (CSR), and seeing that management control systems (MCS) play a pivotal role in transmitting authority to CSR and formalizing a sustainability organizational culture, this paper aims to review the available literature in order to investigate efficient adoptions of CSR by BGs or networks. Both organizational forms have positive effects on CSR development, on three levels: (a) setting industry standards (macro—external environment); (b) stimulating sustainability-oriented innovations (mezzo—member firms); (c) reputational gains, CSR expenses mitigation, and optimization of organizational capabilities (micro—individual SMEs). The studies on SMEs were useful in identifying current sustainability practices: both partial (social, environmental) and complete sustainability systems were susceptible to being integrated with management accounting, making them an almost implicit tool for proper CSR. Finally, by gathering the empirical literature on sustainability transitions of networks and groups, it was possible to trace a comprehensive introductory plan that operators could resort to for initial guidance. The six steps of this process are (1) project initiation, (2) preliminary actions, (3) change management decision, (4) firm-level activities, (5) auditing, (6) transition to territorial social responsibility (optional).

Keywords: CSR; business group; SME network; management control system; sustainability (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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