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Strategic Decision Making for the Triple Bottom Line


  • Abagail McWilliams
  • Annaleena Parhankangas
  • Jason Coupet
  • Eric Welch
  • Darold T. Barnum


Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a mandate for strategic managers and is often an important element of a differentiation strategy, but there is little research on how managers can make socially responsible decisions within the context of competitive strategy. In this study we explain how data envelopment analysis (DEA) results can be used to determine the trade‐offs inherent in managing the triple bottom line of profits, people and the planet. Once the trade‐offs are well understood, managers can implement sustainable competitive strategies that incorporate socially responsible decisions. Using public data from the electric power generation industry, we demonstrate how DEA can be utilized to determine the trade‐offs between efficiency, costs and pollution reduction, allowing managers to make and champion socially responsible decisions. We discuss the general applicability of our method for making strategic decisions incorporating the triple bottom line. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

Suggested Citation

  • Abagail McWilliams & Annaleena Parhankangas & Jason Coupet & Eric Welch & Darold T. Barnum, 2016. "Strategic Decision Making for the Triple Bottom Line," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(3), pages 193-204, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:bstrat:v:25:y:2016:i:3:p:193-204
    DOI: 10.1002/bse.1867

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    Cited by:

    1. Chen-En Hou & Wen-Min Lu & Shiu-Wan Hung, 2019. "Does CSR matter? Influence of corporate social responsibility on corporate performance in the creative industry," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 278(1), pages 255-279, July.
    2. Julian Marius Müller & Daniel Kiel & Kai-Ingo Voigt, 2018. "What Drives the Implementation of Industry 4.0? The Role of Opportunities and Challenges in the Context of Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(1), pages 1-24, January.
    3. Laura Corazza & Simone Domenico Scagnelli & Chiara Mio, 2017. "Simulacra and Sustainability Disclosure: Analysis of the Interpretative Models of Creating Shared Value," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 24(5), pages 414-434, September.
    4. Daniel Kiel & Julian M. Müller & Christian Arnold & Kai-Ingo Voigt, 2017. "Sustainable Industrial Value Creation: Benefits And Challenges Of Industry 4.0," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 21(08), pages 1-34, December.
    5. Hendrik S. Birkel & Johannes W. Veile & Julian M. Müller & Evi Hartmann & Kai-Ingo Voigt, 2019. "Development of a Risk Framework for Industry 4.0 in the Context of Sustainability for Established Manufacturers," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(2), pages 1-27, January.
    6. José Luis Miralles-Quirós & María Mar Miralles-Quirós & José Manuel Nogueira, 2020. "Sustainable Development Goals and Investment Strategies: The Profitability of Using Five-Factor Fama-French Alphas," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(5), pages 1-16, February.
    7. Judit Oláh & Nemer Aburumman & József Popp & Muhammad Asif Khan & Hossam Haddad & Nicodemus Kitukutha, 2020. "Impact of Industry 4.0 on Environmental Sustainability," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(11), pages 1-21, June.
    8. Samet Güner & Erman Coşkun, 2016. "Determining the best performing benchmarks for transit routes with a multi-objective model: the implementation and a critique of the two-model approach," Public Transport, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 205-224, September.

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