Sustainable Corporate Strategy: Who’s Sustaining What?

By Michael McIntyre and Steven A. Murphy.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

While there are a variety of definitions of sustainable, most of them share the idea of continuation for an indefinitely long period of time. Although the idea of sustainability has gained momentum in business circles in recent times, there is not commensurate sensibility or benefit to continuation of social or economic phenomena in general: the sensibility and desirability of continuation depends critically on what, exactly, is to be continued and by whom. In a corporate strategy context, this conditionality calls for explication of the various ideas the term sustainable corporate strategy subsumes so that one can comment on which of those ideas are compatible with continuation, which are not, and what the criteria might be. We address these issues in this paper and show that there are close links between ideas of sustainable corporate strategy at the firm level of analysis, and ideas of comparative advantage for the corporate form itself at the societal level of analysis. In our view, a discussion of sustainable corporate strategy ought to be carried out in context. For us, the context is the social organization within which the corporate form has emerged and has become such a significant player. So, to understand sustainable corporate strategy, one might start by asking, “What role are corporations playing and how is that working out for society?” We argue that the reality of sustainable corporate strategy, then, is that corporations need to make a compelling case that the form itself is compatible with the sustainability goals of society.

Keywords: Comparative Advantage, Goal Congruence, Sustainable Corporate Strategy

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.409-426. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 890.152KB).

Dr. Michael McIntyre

Associate Professor, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Michael McIntyre is Associate Professor of Finance in the Sprott School of Business, Carleton University. Michael’s research interests include option pricing and hedging, risk management, and governance.

Dr. Steven A. Murphy

Associate Dean, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Steven Murphy is an Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Programs) and Associate Professor in the Sprott School of Business in Ottawa, Canada. His research involves applying behavioral and social psychological concepts into other academic realms. In particular, he has applied business concepts to practices in design, the fine arts and theatre. Human emotions form the pillar of Steven’s research, and he has examined them in relation to corporate boards, sustainability, governance, computer mediated communication and the leader-follower dyad.

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