Toward stakeholder responsibility and stakeholder motivation: Systemic and holistic perspectives on corporate sustainability
Scholars in corporate sustainability have widely used negative examples of industrial accidents and poor (social and environmental) corporate performance to illustrate that companies have a significant impact on the alarming social and environmental developments. Besides, the extreme ecocentic management view on sustainability leaves the impression that full responsibility for sustainability, i.e. responsibility for the solution of existing social and environmental problems, should be awarded to business. However, we show that, in general, responsibilities are characterized by systemic interdependence, holism, subjectivism, and dynamics. In the context of sustainability, these four characteristics imply that awarding full responsibility to business is inappropriate. Organizations and all their stakeholders are responsible for sustainability. As this indicates the necessity for joint efforts to advance sustainable development, we attempt to integrate the responsibilities for sustainability of organizations, scientists, consumers, and policy makers. Overall, we believe that views on corporate sustainability should be perceived as an “alarm bell,” which managers need to consider in the process of stakeholder motivation in order to secure the organizational survival.
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