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Board and Top Management Social Sustainability Work in Cluster Organizations

Agneta Sundström () and Kristina Mickelsson ()
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Agneta Sundström: Business and Economic Department, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, University of Gävle, Kungsbäcksvägen 47, 80176 Gävle, Sweden
Kristina Mickelsson: Business and Economic Department, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, University of Gävle, Kungsbäcksvägen 47, 80176 Gävle, Sweden

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 19, 1-1

Abstract: This case study aims to analyze how boards and top management in regional cluster organizations contribute to social sustainability commitment for themselves and their member organizations with specific focus on gender equality and diversity issues. The study adopts a case study research approach, where interviews, observations and secondary data constitute the basis for in-depth analysis. To deepen the case analysis, four theoretical perspectives are applied for pattern-matching: stakeholder, resource dependence, agency and institutional theory. Results of the study show that the boards are aware of stakeholder requirements, have necessary resources and expertise, and are well aware of the importance of social sustainability, but they act traditionally by focusing on economic incentives and responsibility. Board members act symbolically by transferring social responsibility to the top management of these cluster organizations through their applications for funds. From agency and stakeholder perspectives, the fund application regulates roles and responsibilities between the parties. Top management legitimates the responsibility by initiating projects and initiatives to strengthen social sustainability in a substantive way in member organizations. The study contribution shows that the board’s mission and role have symbolic significance for building social responsibility, while top management contributes substantively.

Keywords: social sustainability; cluster organization; board composition; top management (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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