Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Karen Paul

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Sumit Kundu

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Aya Chacar

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Florence George

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Keywords

Sustainability, Corporate social responsibility, Business ethics, GRI, Content analysis

Date of Defense

2-20-2015

Abstract

This study examines the triple bottom line of sustainability, in the context of both profit-oriented and non-profit oriented organizations. Sustainability is a compound result of interaction between economic, environmental, and social dimensions. Sustainability cannot be achieved without balance between all three dimensions, which has implications for measuring sustainability and prioritizing goals. This study demonstrates a method for measuring organizational sustainability achievement in these three dimensions of sustainability.

Content analysis of the annual reports of corporations from the United States, Continental Europe (and Scandinavia), and Asia reveals that the economic dimension remains the preeminent aspect, and corporations still have a long way to go to reach comprehensive sustainability by maintaining a balance between the three dimensions of sustainability. The analysis also shows a high level of isomorphism in the sustainability practices of corporations, suggesting that even the most sustainable corporations are taking a somewhat passive role in prioritizing sustainability goals.

A list of 25 terms for each dimension of sustainability (economic, environmental, and social) has been developed which can be used by corporations to develop and communicate their sustainability practices most effectively to the maximum number of their stakeholders. In contrast, botanical gardens demonstrate more balance among the three dimensions of sustainability.

Identifier

FI15032103

 

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