Organisations' Responsibilities towards Corporate Sustinability: A Content Analysis of Literature

Organisations' Responsibilities towards Corporate Sustinability: A Content Analysis of Literature

Arunasalam Sambhanthan (School of Information Systems, Curtin Business School, Curtin University, Perth, Australia) and Vidyasagar Potdar (School of Information Systems, Curtin Business School, Curtin University, Perth, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSITA.2016040104
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This paper analyses published literature to determine the organizational responsibilities towards business sustainability. Over two hundred published research papers in this space have been subjected to content analysis using NVivo qualitative analysis tool. The results reveal that there are three major types of responsibilities namely social responsibilities, environmental responsibilities and the role based responsibilities which the organizations have in terms of ensuring corporate sustainability. These responsibilities have been found to be effectively achieved through effective corporate sustainability reporting practices, policy level concerns backed by values and principles, coordination of consumer inputs, ensuring stakeholder understanding about their roles and responsibilities and effective risk management backed by proper definition of roles and responsibilities. A number of conclusions along with implications for practice have been derived as the outcome of the documented research.
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1. Introduction

Corporate sustainability research has been grown tremendously. There are a number of documented researches looking at the corporate sustainability from different angles. Examples include the survey of the development of the field of corporate sustainability from the concept of sustainable development in different stages (Dyllick & Hockerts, 2002); systems approach to corporate sustainability (Azapagic, 2003); research looking at multiple levels of corporate sustainability (Marrewijk & were, 2003); European corporate sustainability framework (Hardjono & De Klein, 2004); corporate sustainability and organizational culture (Linnenluecke & Griffiths, 2010) and defining and measuring corporate sustainability (Laine, 2014). In addition to this a recent progress report published by KPMG Corporation highlights the importance of sustainability within current business world (KPMG, 2011). However, none of these researches have been looking at the organizations’ responsibilities towards business sustainability. Arguably, a recent research documented the uptake of corporate social responsibility initiatives in developing countries (Memon et al., 2014); but lacks to cover the aspects which could be considered as organizational responsibilities towards ensuring business sustainability. Thus, this research aims to investigate the organizational responsibilities towards business sustainability.

Business sustainability has different organizational aspects and approaches. We are anchoring our research questions on the work reported by (Muff & Dyllick, 2014) for considering different approaches of business sustainability (Table 1). The work reported by (Muff & Dyllick, 2014) in this paper proposes a framework for considering different organizational aspects of business sustainability. The main themes highlighted by the authors in this work cover the typical business functioning model namely input, process and output. Although this sounds to be a generic overview of business functioning, this thinking is more process driven compared to early approaches such as (Costanza & Patten, 1995); (Marshall & Toffel, 2005) and has the base potential to be developed and applied to businesses in their day to day operations in ensuring their sustainability. Hence, our research questions formulated based on this framework are presented below:

Table 1.
Typology of business sustainability after (Muff & Dyllick, 2014)
Typology of Business SustainabilityConcerns
Organisational Perspective
Values Created
(What for?)
Business-as-usualEconomic concernsInside-outShareholder Value
Business sustainability 1.0Three-dimensional concernsInside-outRefined shareholder value
Business Sustainability 2.0Three-dimensional concernsInside-outTriple bottom line
Business Sustainability 3.0Starting with sustainability challengesOutside-inCreating value for the common good

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