Motivations for Corporate Sustainability Management: Contrasting Survey Results and Implementation

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This paper compares empirical findings on the implementation of sustainability management with the results of earlier surveys on corporate motivations to deal with sustainability. We analyze the relevance of three different motivations, i.e. seeking corporate legitimacy, market success, and internal improvement. This is accomplished by matching these motivations with empirical findings on the engagement of functional areas. The underlying rationale is that differences in the engagement of functional areas can be expected to depend on the overall corporate motivation for sustainability management. Our analysis shows low engagement in finance and accounting, whereas the public relations department is actively engaged. Since this functional area commonly aims to legitimize corporate activities, this finding contradicts the results of earlier studies which concluded that legitimacy is not an important motivation for sustainability. We discuss reasons for these contradictions and derive implications for future research and business activities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCorporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)272-285
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 09.2014