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Sustainability 2014, 6(5), 3064-3085; doi:10.3390/su6053064

Involving Corporate Functions: Who Contributes to Sustainable Development?

Centre for Sustainability Management, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Scharnhorststr. 1, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany
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Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 9 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 19 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
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Abstract

A large body of literature claims that corporate sustainable development is a cross-functional challenge, which requires all functional units to be involved. However, it remains uncertain to what extent and in which way different corporate functions are actually involved in corporate sustainability management. To bridge this research gap, our paper draws on a concept of involvement introduced in the field of consumer behavior. Based on this previous research, our paper distinguishes two components of involvement: first, a cognitive-affective component, incorporating being affected by sustainability issues and being supportive of corporate sustainability; and second, a behavioral component, represented by the application of sustainability management tools. We use this concept to empirically analyze the involvement of corporate functions in sustainability management and find considerable differences in large German companies. Whereas public relations and strategic management are heavily involved, finance, accounting and management control appear not to be involved. A multinomial logistic regression shows that the cognitive-affective component significantly influences the behavioral component, with a functional unit being affected influencing the application of tools the most. Building on the model proposed, the paper provides implications on how to increase a functional unit’s involvement in sustainability management.
Keywords: companies; corporate sustainability; environment; functional unit; Germany; involvement; management tool; sustainability management companies; corporate sustainability; environment; functional unit; Germany; involvement; management tool; sustainability management
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Schaltegger, S.; Harms, D.; Windolph, S.E.; Hörisch, J. Involving Corporate Functions: Who Contributes to Sustainable Development? Sustainability 2014, 6, 3064-3085.

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