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Corporate sustainability development in China: review and analysis

Chunguang Bai (School of Management Science and Engineering, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics, Dalian, China)
Joseph Sarkis (School of Business, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, USA)
Yijie Dou (Center for Industrial and Business Organization, Dongbei University of Finance & Economics, Dalian, China)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to threefold. The first purpose is to review and critically analyze corporate sustainability development (CSD) research in China. Second, the paper extracts a unified theoretical framework among CSD drivers, CSD practices, and corporate performance in China. Finally, it seeks to identify links between CSD and industrial management and data systems (IMDS) topics.


A comprehensive and structured review of the research literature investigating CSD in China was completed. Categorizations and classifications of the literature were summarized. A critical analysis of the literature resulted in a generic theoretical framework that can be used for evaluation of the literature and further investigation.


The literature review found over 189 papers on CSD in China published from 1997 to 2013. The framework developed focussed on relationships among drivers, practices, and performance within a CSD in China context. The framework provides useful insights into the implementation of CSD practices. The integration of the three dimensions of sustainability and decision-making methodology are still rare. Specific features of CSD are also reviewed with a linkage to IMDS research around information technology, business process modeling, and supply chain management.


This is one of the first works to provide a comprehensive focus on CSD in China. The theoretical framework was developed for CSD in China to clarify the relationships between the drivers, the corporation’s characteristics, CSD practices, and corporation performance and will prove useful for future research development and investigation. The linkage to IMDS topics is novel and will help further research related to CSD in China for this journal.



This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China Project (71102090, 71472031); Liaoning Excellent Talents in University (WJQ2014029; the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71302057) and Foundation for Distinguished Scientific research innovation Talents in Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (DUFE2014R18)).


Bai, C., Sarkis, J. and Dou, Y. (2015), "Corporate sustainability development in China: review and analysis", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 115 No. 1, pp. 5-40.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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