Sustainability information sources: employee knowledge, perceptions, and learning

Christopher A. Craig (Energy Solutions International, New York, New York, USA)
Myria W. Allen (Department of Communication, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)

Journal of Communication Management

ISSN: 1363-254X

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The information sources employees in one Fortune 100 organization draw on to learn about sustainability are identified. The linkages between knowledge about sustainability, perceptions of the organization's involvement in sustainability initiatives, and interest in learning more about sustainability are investigated.


Employees (n=1,952) completed an online survey investigating what they knew and thought about sustainability, and the sources of their information. The information sources investigated included external association sources, media sources, supply-chain sources, interpersonal sources, and intraorganizational sources.


Important external information sources include professional/industry associations, faith-based institutions, and supply-chain partners. Important internal sources include supervisors, company meetings, and the company sustainability report. Those who think sustainability is important to their organization's long-term success were interested in learning more about sustainability. Awareness of the organization's sustainability initiatives is related to the belief sustainability is important to the organization's success.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include a cross-sectional study, single-item measures, and nominal data.

Practical implications

Companies launching sustainability initiatives need to understand and manage the information sources their employees utilize.


This is a large empirical study that focusses on information sources and employee perceptions involving sustainability.



A. Craig, C. and W. Allen, M. (2013), "Sustainability information sources: employee knowledge, perceptions, and learning", Journal of Communication Management, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 292-307.

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