Sustainability leadership: from strategy to results

Galpin, Timothy J. and Whittington, J. Lee (2012) Sustainability leadership: from strategy to results. Journal of Business Strategy, 33 (4). pp. 40-48.

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Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this article is to show how a previously developed multi‐level model of employee engagement can be leveraged to implement a comprehensive sustainability strategy. By combining macro‐level (organization‐wide) with micro‐level (manager to employee) leadership practices, management teams can more effectively engage their entire workforce in sustainability endeavors.

Design/methodology/approach
– A narrative synthesis approach is used to integrate extant empirical and practitioner literature spanning various disciplines in order to apply a comprehensive model for leading sustainability efforts.

Findings
– The path to successful sustainability efforts hinges on both “macro” and “micro” organizational factors. Combining these factors provides management with a powerful approach that engages a workforce in sustainability endeavors, resulting in positive employee‐level and organizational‐level sustainability performance.

Research limitations/implications
– If research is reported on in the paper this section must be completed and should include suggestions for future research and any identified limitations in the research process. Applying the engagement model to corporate sustainability efforts is an important advancement in the theoretical sustainability literature. It is applicable to multiple sustainability efforts, and may be applied regardless of the industry or the size of the companies undertaking sustainability initiatives. The model provides guidance for researchers who are seeking to frame their inquiry from a multi‐level perspective and in relation to other disciplines. Future research should focus on the relationship between the different leadership factors identified in the model and sustainability performance.

Practical implications
– Despite the observations into what needs to be done around sustainability, many organizations do not quite seem to know how to do it. Therefore, the model presented provides a road map that can be used to structure management's approach to their sustainability endeavors.

Originality/value
– A gap exists in both the practitioner and academic literature regarding the development of a model that encompasses the key elements of corporate sustainability efforts from inception to implementation. Moreover, no clear leadership model exists with the expressed purpose of creating the most effective employee engagement during corporate sustainability efforts. In this paper it is demonstrated how a previously developed workforce engagement model can be leveraged to implement a comprehensive sustainability strategy. The multi‐level model provides a foundation for the formulation, implementation and successful execution of sustainability efforts.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Leadership, Sustainability, Workforce engagement, Sustainable development, Strategy
Subject(s): Strategy
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2017 10:35
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2017 10:35
Funders: N/A
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/6508

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