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Leading the sustainable organization at Vail Resorts

Timothy Galpin (Department of Management, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)
Georgann Jouflas (Department of Business, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, Colorado, USA)
Mark Gasta (Vail Resorts, Broomfield, Colorado, USA)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 17 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to assess Vail Resorts’ sustainability activities by applying a well-substantiated framework titled the “Leading the Sustainable Organization” (LSO) model in order to systematically explore their efforts. Anecdotally the sustainability activities and accomplishments of Vail Resorts appear comprehensive and impressive. Corporate sustainability is a complex, multi-functional endeavor, yet guidance on the issue has tended to be single level, single stage and single disciplinary. Our multi-level assessment of Vail Resorts’ sustainability activities, including the stakeholder and financial impacts, develops a deeper understanding of sustainability and the effect it can have on profitability and value of a company.

Design/methodology/approach

Vail Resorts’ sustainability activities were assessed by applying a well-substantiated framework titled the “Leading the Sustainable Organization” (LSO) model.

Findings

The in-role and extra-role sustainability performance of employees at Vail Resorts demonstrates their engagement with the company’s sustainability efforts. Beyond employee sustainability performance, the company-level sustainability performance of Vail Resorts exhibits the payoff of the company’s sustainability efforts.

Research limitations/implications

The LSO model was applied to only one organization. Future application to multiple firms would provide a broader assessment of the state of sustainability in organizations of various sizes and across industries.

Practical implications

By examining their sustainability activities through the lens of the LSO model, Vail Resorts provides a rich example of best practices relating to a company’s pursuit of sustainability efforts and their expected benefits. Vail Resorts’ wide-ranging sustainability actions, combined with the LSO model, provide managers with a well-defined road map to lead their own sustainable organization. Vail Resorts’ implementation of the various components of the LSO model, and the results achieved, demonstrate that “sustainability is not just doing good, it is also good business.”

Originality/value

Applying the LSO model offers both practicing managers and researchers alike a well-substantiated framework to assess organizational sustainability efforts, in order to identify areas of organizational sustainability strength as well as areas needing improvement.

Keywords

Citation

Galpin, T., Jouflas, G. and Gasta, M. (2014), "Leading the sustainable organization at Vail Resorts", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 19-30. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBS-02-2014-0008

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited