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Integrated management systems as a driver of sustainability performance: exploring evidence from multiple-case studies

Jeniffer de Nadae (Department of Production Engineering, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil) (Department of Business Administration, Federal University of Cariri, Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil)
Marly M. Carvalho (Department of Production Engineering, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil)
Darli Rodrigues Vieira (Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, Canada)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 29 July 2020

Issue publication date: 15 February 2021

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the impact of integrated management systems (IMSs) on sustainability (based on the triple bottom line (TBL) concept). To accomplish this objective, this paper seeks to answer the following research questions: How can IMS impact organizational sustainability performance? And, how the key challenges of IMS can influence companies in practice?

Design/methodology/approach

A case-based approach is used based on the following four cases from different sectors: an electric power distributor; an environmental consulting firm; a public transport firm; and a firm with a broad portfolio of equipment, products and provisions for industrial services in different markets.

Findings

The results show that the integration of management systems was driven by the companies' strategies toward sustainability. The stakeholders' perception is that a firm's image as a sustainable company also enhances environmental and social performance. The economic performance was not emphasized. Companies noted that the main challenge was motivating and engaging human resources.

Originality/value

This paper shows that sustainability was not a motivation for implementing an IMS. But, implementing an IMS was a driver of sustainability performance. Also, the relationship between IMS and organizational performance can be presented based on TBL perspectives, and implementing an IMS can be challenging in practice.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Brazilian institutes: National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq) and Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES). The authors greatly thank them for supporting this research. The authors also would like to thank the companies for providing information for the case studies.

Citation

de Nadae, J., Carvalho, M.M. and Vieira, D.R. (2021), "Integrated management systems as a driver of sustainability performance: exploring evidence from multiple-case studies", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 800-821. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-12-2019-0386

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited