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Complexity and the triple bottom line: an information-processing perspective

Frank Wiengarten (Department of Operations and Innovation, ESADE – Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain)
Muhammad Usman Ahmed (Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, USA)
Annachiara Longoni (Business School, ESADE – Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain)
Mark Pagell (University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Brian Fynes (University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 4 September 2017

2742

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the impact of complexity on the triple bottom line by applying information-processing theory. Specifically, the paper assesses the impact of internal manufacturing complexity on environmental, social, and financial performance. Furthermore, the paper assesses the moderating role of connectivity and shared schema in reducing the potential negative impact of complexity on performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Multi-country survey data collected through the Global Manufacturing Research Group were utilized to test the hypotheses. The authors used structural equation modeling to test the measurement and initial structural model. Furthermore, to test the proposed moderating hypotheses, the authors applied the latent moderated structural equations approach.

Findings

The results indicate that while complexity has a negative impact on environmental and social performance, it does not significantly affect financial performance. Furthermore, this negative impact can be reduced, to some extent, through connectivity; however, shared schema does not significantly impact on the complexity-performance relationship.

Originality/value

This study presents a comprehensive analysis of the impact of complexity on sustainability. Furthermore, it provides managerial applications as it proposes specific tools to deal with the potential negative influences of complexity.

Keywords

Citation

Wiengarten, F., Ahmed, M.U., Longoni, A., Pagell, M. and Fynes, B. (2017), "Complexity and the triple bottom line: an information-processing perspective", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 9, pp. 1142-1163. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-06-2016-0292

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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