Type of thesis
Unpacking the Black Box of Sustainability: How Do Organizations Embed Sustainability into Strategies and Operations?
Scientific disciplinary sector
SCIENZE ECONOMICHE E MANAGERIALI - Management
relatore Prof. FREY, MARCO
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Ecosystem services
- Social network
- Sustainable Development Goals
Exam session start date
The present thesis observes and discusses the level of sustainability embeddedness inside businesses’ thinking, behaviors, strategies, and external disclosures. The three chapters of the dissertation correspond to three stand-alone papers written during the Ph.D course. Notably, companies’ commitment towards sustainability and their related tactics to make it operational are observed throughout different methodologies, tools and unit of analysis.<br><br>The first chapter focused on a counter-accounting – or shadow account – approach aiming at understanding whether UN Global Compact LEAD companies disclose balanced and transparent information to the broad public on their sustainable performances or, on the contrary, they end in bluewashing their commitment.<br><br>The second chapter investigated the sustainable commitment of an Italian multi-utility company, by observing how it actually integrates social and environmental issues in its daily working activities. Notably, looking within organizational boundaries throughout an organizational network analysis, it was possible to observe the alignment between the formal commitment and the informal internal networks’ structure and properties together with the specific role played by the CSR unit in promoting a deep integration of sustainability issues.<br><br>Finally, the third chapter analyzes and proposes a positive projection of a strategic and management approach able to recouple strategy and operation in embedding and enacting sustainability at a corporate level. Through a transdisciplinary approach, the application of a content analysis method allowed to analyze a set of selected Italian companies’ practices focused on the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services and their impacts in terms, also, of contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.<br><br>Findings of the whole research permit to state that a real coupling between corporate sustainability and corporate business strategies and operations is still far from being reached. This is even amplified when different perspectives and tools of analysis are applied. Managerial implications and avenues for future researches are also provided.<br>
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