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Sustainability, decision making and culture in organisations

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Mark Boulle, David Robinson
This paper conducts a review of recent literature in sustainability and identifies three levels of sustainability: non-sustainability, weak sustainability and strong sustainability. An analysis was conducted on the responses of top CEOs to questions in a survey conducted by a leading Australian newspaper to gain an insight into the areas of concern forefront in their minds. Evidence was sought for CEO attention to financial, growth, sustainability, environmental and social issues. The responses of 56 CEOs from leading Australian companies as per market capitalisation were analysed for key words, derivatives of, including sustainability, environmental concern, resource concern, innovation, growth, long-term, social concern, employee/recruitment, global concern, financial, technology, government policy/regulation, competition, managerial/cost control, image/marketing. The number of times these keys areas were mentioned was collated as indicative of being forefront in the decision makers’ mind. As hypothesised, financial considerations received the most mentioned responses. The findings also confirmed the importance of including a long-term focus in any definition of sustainability. Key to the direction an organisation takes and its position on sustainability, are the decisions made by senior management and influential chief executive officers in particular. It is argued an excessive fixation on the accumulation of company profits by management can lead to an unsustainable course for organisations and the broader community. The challenge for companies is to meet two strategic objectives: maintaining a sustainable future for the entity, and maintaining a responsible approach to sustainable development in areas impacted by the firm.


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Gold Coast, Qld.


Association for Sustainability in Business

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Peer Reviewed

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Open Access

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Association for Sustainability in Business. Conference