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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2017

Pablo Muñoz

Under what conditions do entrepreneurs make the sustainable decisions they need to develop socially and environmentally responsible new businesses? Explanations of…

Abstract

Purpose

Under what conditions do entrepreneurs make the sustainable decisions they need to develop socially and environmentally responsible new businesses? Explanations of sustainable decision-making have involved various cognitive features; however, it is not yet clear how they play a role in empirical terms and, moreover, how they combine to induce business decisions based on social, environmental and economic considerations. The purpose of this paper is to explore how five cognitive factors combine and causally connect to produce sustainable decision-making in entrepreneurship.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis to examine the decision-making of 37 sustainable entrepreneurs. It focuses on a substantive conception of entrepreneurial behaviour to uncover the cognitive antecedents underlying entrepreneurial decisions that involve the explicit development and implementation of measures, targets and strategies aimed at improving its impact on people and the environment.

Findings

The configurational analysis reveals a typology comprising five combinations of cognitive factors constituting a comprehensive cognitive map of sustainable decision-making in entrepreneurship, namely: purpose-driven, determined; value-based, vacillating; value-based, unintended; single motive, single solution; and purpose-driven, hesitant.

Research limitations/implications

This study demonstrates that no single condition is necessary nor sufficient for triggering decision-making involving social and environmental concerns, revealing five mental models leading to sustainable decision-making. In doing so, this paper responds to recent calls that stress the need for studies capable of uncovering the complex constellation of cognitive factors underlying entrepreneurial sustainable behaviour. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Originality/value

This paper provides a systematic characterization of the cognitive underpinnings of sustainable decision-making and offers a basis for organizing the study of sustainable outcomes and configurations of cognitive antecedents. It reconciles prior efforts aimed at characterizing sustainability decisions in the context of SMEs and new enterprises, challenging current models based on awareness, experience and ethical normative frameworks.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Pernille Hoy Christensen

The purpose of this paper is to understand both the facts and the values associated with the breadth of issues, and the principles related to sustainable real estate for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand both the facts and the values associated with the breadth of issues, and the principles related to sustainable real estate for institutional investors. Sustainable real estate is a growing sector within the commercial real estate industry, and yet, the decision-making practices of institutional investors related to sustainability are still not well understood. In an effort to fill that gap, this research investigates the post-global financial crisis (GFC) motivations driving the implementation of sustainability initiatives, the implementation strategies used, and the predominant eco-indicators and measures used by institutional investors.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the results of a three-round modified Delphi study conducted in the USA in 2011-2012 investigating the nature of performance measurements and reporting requirements in sustainable commercial real estate and their impact on the real estate decision-making process used by institutional investors. Two rounds of in-depth interviews were conducted with 14 expert panelists. An e-questionnaire was used in the third round to verify qualitative findings.

Findings

The key industry drivers and performance indicators influencing institutional investor decision making were associated with risk management of assets and whether initiatives can improve competitive market advantage. Industry leaders advocate for simple key performance indicators, which is in contrast to the literature which argues for the need to adopt common criteria and metrics. Key barriers to the adoption of sustainability initiatives are discussed and a decision framework is presented.

Practical implications

This research aims to help industry partners understand the drivers motivating institutional investors to uptake sustainability initiatives with the aim of improving decision making, assessment, and management of sustainable commercial office buildings.

Originality/value

Building on the four generations of the sustainability framework presented by Simons et al. (2001), this research argues that the US real estate market has yet again adjusted its relationship with sustainability and revises their framework to include a new, post-GFC generation for decision making, assessment, and management of sustainable real estate.

Details

Journal of Property Investment & Finance, vol. 35 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-578X

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Leila Schwab, Stefan Gold, Nathan Kunz and Gerald Reiner

The purpose of this paper is to explore how operations decision-making may keep the growing firms within the boundaries of corporate and societal sustainability.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how operations decision-making may keep the growing firms within the boundaries of corporate and societal sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors classify operations decisions during growth periods according to the three dimensions of the triple bottom line (economic, social and environmental). By means of a longitudinal case study of a family-owned wood construction firm that is in a process of intense growth, the authors identify, visually represent and analyse the complex sequences of selected managerial operations decisions.

Findings

The empirical data suggest that operations decisions made by managers during growth periods follow specific patterns. From the analysis, the authors derive various research propositions that investigate how a well-understood and therefore efficient and effective decision-making process can facilitate sustainable business growth.

Research limitations/implications

The findings offer opportunities for future studies to zoom in on specific parts of the decision-making process during growth periods. Moreover, given the exploratory nature of this study, future research should test hypotheses derived from the research propositions.

Practical implications

This study investigates operations decision-making during growth, which is crucial for guiding companies through this complex transition phase.

Originality/value

This conceptual and empirical analysis explores new theory and contributes to the vastly under-researched subject of sustainable business growth.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2014

Tina Nikou and Leidy Klotz

Despite substantial advances in technologies enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings, they remain the largest consumers of energy in the USA compared with other…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite substantial advances in technologies enhancing the energy efficiency of buildings, they remain the largest consumers of energy in the USA compared with other sectors. In addition, the current rating systems for sustainable buildings do not reflect all potential energy savings during the design, construction, and occupancy of the built environment. The purpose of this paper is to examine the application of multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT) as a framework for quantifying energy decisions made during the design phase of a building construction project.

Design/methodology/approach

The MAUT method was applied to a case study, and the results were compared with subjective results from the decision makers. Analysis of the results suggested that MAUT is a decision analysis tool that could aid decision makers in communicating their decision criteria and expectations.

Findings

Findings from this research suggest that using an analysis method provides the decision makers with a systematic way to include their concerns and preferences and specific requirements of the project along with the criteria for sustainable energy and the built environment at the same time. Using a multi-criteria, decision-making method provides the decision makers with quantitative information, which facilitates the comparison of alternatives. MAUT enabled the various stakeholders of the project to collaborate on the inputs of the problems and allowed the decision makers to communicate their priorities and expectations more effectively.

Originality/value

The findings indicated that MAUT provides stakeholders with a quantitative and holistic approach to decision making in which they can track changes in parameters during the process. The implementation of MAUT as a decision analysis tool in designing construction projects ultimately could lead to better decision making for sustainable building designs.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2021

Melfi Alrasheedi, Abbas Mardani, Arunodaya Raj Mishra, Pratibha Rani and Nanthakumar Loganathan

The purpose of this study to introduce a new extended framework to evaluate and rank the sustainable suppliers based on the different sustainable criteria in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study to introduce a new extended framework to evaluate and rank the sustainable suppliers based on the different sustainable criteria in the manufacturing companies using a new fuzzy decision-making approach.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper introduces a new approach using decision-making and Pythagorean fuzzy sets (PFSs) to assess the best sustainable supplier. To doing so, this study integrated the entropy, stepwise weight assessment ratio analysis (SWARA) and weighted aggregates sum product assessment (WASPAS) methods under PFSs. To calculate the criteria weights, the combined entropy-SWARA method is used to compute the objective weight and subjective weight, respectively. Furthermore, the WASPAS model is utilized to rank sustainable supplier alternatives.

Findings

The results of the analysis found that occupational health and safety systems had the highest rank among other criteria, followed by green product and eco-design, green R&D and innovation and green technology. In addition, the findings of the paper demonstrated that the extended approach was efficient and useful for selecting and evaluating the best sustainable supplier in the manufacturing companies.

Originality/value

Recent years have witnessed a number of studies aimed at incorporating the sustainability standards into the supplier selection problem; however, only a little research has been conducted on developing a fuzzy method for decision-making in a manner to assess and choose suppliers with high sustainability in the insurance market, encompassing the three above-mentioned sustainability criteria.

Details

Journal of Enterprise Information Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0398

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Article
Publication date: 28 June 2018

Nathan Daniel McWhirter and Tripp Shealy

This paper aims to introduce a case-based module teaching sustainable engineering, linking the Envision rating system with behavioral decision science. Three complete…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to introduce a case-based module teaching sustainable engineering, linking the Envision rating system with behavioral decision science. Three complete modules are publicly available in a repository for any instructor to adapt, use and review.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study was written about the Tucannon River Wind Farm, a project-certified Gold by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision™ rating system. The case was used as the basis for an in-class PowerPoint module to achieve student learning outcomes related to sustainability.

Findings

Before and after surveys showed significant (p < 0.05) learning increases. Word clouds show changes in student perceptions of sustainable design. Rubric scoring of writing assignments and concept maps yielded valuable insights and improvements and demonstrated the overall validity of the module approach.

Research limitations/implications

Modules lasting only one or two class days must be well-integrated into courses and curricula to promote greater learning value. Concept mapping may be a useful addition but involves a learning curve for both instructors and students.

Practical implications

By offering instructors access to a set of case-based modules, it becomes more practical for them to teach about sustainable infrastructure and decision-making.

Social implications

The module exemplifies a project owner and an engineering firm strongly committed to social and environmental sustainability. Envision’s Quality of Life and Leadership categories emphasize community well-being, involvement and collaboration.

Originality/value

This module offers a unique transdisciplinary focus meeting several needs in engineering education on sustainability, complex problems and decision-making.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 19 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Anthony Alexander, Helen Walker and Mohamed Naim

– This study aims to aid theory building, the use of decision theory (DT) concepts in sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) research is examined.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to aid theory building, the use of decision theory (DT) concepts in sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) research is examined.

Design/methodology/approach

An abductive approach considers two DT concepts, Snowden’s Cynefin framework for sense-making and Keeney’s value-focussed decision analysis, in a systematic literature review of 160 peer-reviewed papers in English.

Findings

Around 60 per cent of the papers on decision-making in SSCM come from operational research (OR), which makes explicit use of DT. These are almost all normative and rationalist and focussed on structured decision contexts. Some exceptions seek to address unstructured decision contexts via Complex Adaptive Systems or Soft Systems Methodology. Meanwhile, a second set, around 16 per cent, comes from business ethics and are empirical, behavioural decision research. Although this set does not explicitly refer to DT, the empirical evidence here supports Keeney’s value-focussed analysis.

Research limitations/implications

There is potential for theory building in SSCM using DT, but the research only addresses SSCM research (including corporate responsibility and ethics) and not DT in SCM or wider sustainable development research.

Practical implications

Use of particular decision analysis methods for SSCM may be improved by better understanding different decision contexts.

Social implications

The research shows potential synthesis with ethical DT absent from DT and SCM research.

Originality/value

Empirical behavioural decision analysis for SSCM is considered alongside normative, rational analysis for the first time. Value-focussed DT appears useful for unstructured decision contexts found in SSCM.

Originality/value

Empirical, behavioural decision analysis for SSCM is considered alongside normative rational analysis for the first time. Value-focussed DT appears useful for unstructured decision contexts found in SSCM.

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Bonnie J.K. Simpson and Scott K. Radford

The purpose of this study is to examine whether consumers demonstrate a multi-dimensional understanding of sustainability in their decision-making and addresses the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine whether consumers demonstrate a multi-dimensional understanding of sustainability in their decision-making and addresses the situational influence of confidence and compromise on sustainable product choices.

Design/methodology/approach

Using three choice-based conjoint experiments the authors examined the importance of sustainability, compromise and confidence to consumers across two contexts. Two-step cluster analyses were used to segment consumers based on the importance scores.

Findings

Data indicates that the environmental dimension of sustainability is the most influential followed by economic and social. The responses suggest three distinct segments identified as self-focused, trend motivated and reality driven that demonstrate significantly different characteristics in their approach to sustainable products.

Research limitations/implications

Current research tends to focus on the environmental dimension, while paying little heed to the economic and social dimensions. This research indicates that consumers consider all three dimensions when making sustainable product choices and highlights that differences may emerge with respect to product utility.

Practical implications

Firms must be aware that consumers differ in the importance they place on sustainability. The reality-driven segment is the most attractive segment, as they are highly engaged and are willing to invest time in understanding the complexities of sustainability. The trend-motivated segments are more fickle with superficial knowledge, and the self-focused segments are self-serving in their orientations and use price as a key decision variable.

Originality/value

The paper addresses an important oversight in the sustainability literature. It provides both a theoretical contribution to advance marketing research and a practical contribution that may be of interest to those trying to market sustainable products.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 48 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 25 July 2019

Tritos Laosirihongthong, Premaratne Samaranayake and Sev Nagalingam

The purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic approach for supplier evaluation and purchasing order allocation among the ranked suppliers who meet acceptable levels…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic approach for supplier evaluation and purchasing order allocation among the ranked suppliers who meet acceptable levels of economic, environmental and social measures.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed research method of case study and analytical approach is adopted in this research. A fuzzy analytical hierarchical process (FAHP) is applied for ranking of suppliers. Supplier ranks are validated using judgements from multiple decision makers. Purchasing order allocation among the ranked suppliers is determined using cost minimization subject to multiple criteria of economic, environmental and social conditions. A cement manufacturing case example demonstrates and validates the proposed approach.

Findings

The research shows that both economic and environmental considerations are significant when suppliers are evaluated for sustainable procurement within the best practice of supply management process. Ranking of suppliers, based on experts’ opinions, indicates varying degrees of importance for each criterion. Adoption of sustainable procurement criteria for evaluating supplier in a cement manufacturing organization is explained by three organizational theories including resource-based, institutional and dynamic capabilities theories. Preferred suppliers from FAHP method are confirmed by judgements from multiple decision-makers. The analysis reveals that purchasing order allocation is different when suppliers are evaluated based on their relative importance and overall ranking.

Research limitations/implications

Currently, individual performance measures and decision-makers are selected from a limited set. The purchasing allocation among ranked suppliers, subjected to cost minimization, incorporates environmental objective of acceptable carbon dioxide emission and social perspective of health and safety of workers, and provides a new approach for dual supplier evaluation and purchasing allocation problem in cement industry. Adopting the proposed supplier evaluation and order allocation approach in practice needs to be guided by the operational principles and an overall methodology which is appropriate for the specific industry with sustainability objectives.

Practical implications

This research enables decision-makers to incorporate sustainability analysis in the supplier evaluation as the basis for best practice with an industry-friendly holistic approach. Using organizational theories, the research re-enforces the importance of not only the energy consumption and environmental management systems of environmental dimension as driving forces/factors from Institutional theory perspective, but also pollution controls and prevention as purchasing capabilities from resource-based theory perspective. The proposed approach is expected to motivate decision-makers to consider sustainable perspectives in supplier evaluation and order allocation processes in a global supply chain and can become a benchmarking tool.

Social implications

Suppliers’ information on health and safety of their truck drivers are used in order allocation, thus emphasizing the importance of social dimension and encouraging better conditions and benchmarking for delivery drivers.

Originality/value

This paper extends the contribution to the literature by providing guidelines for managers to set strategies, benchmarks and policies within broader sustainable supply chain practices and demonstrates the applicability of the approach using a cement-manufacturing scenario in an emerging economy.

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2011

Ingrid Bonn and Josie Fisher

This paper explores ways in which different dimensions of sustainability can be addressed at the strategic level within organizations.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores ways in which different dimensions of sustainability can be addressed at the strategic level within organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Building upon previous research, the authors provide a conceptual overview before developing a framework that outlines how sustainability can be addressed during the strategic decisionmaking process and as part of the organization's corporate, business and functional level strategies.

Findings

Research has demonstrated that many managers do not understand how to make their organizations more sustainable, even though they recognize the benefits of doing so. The framework developed in this paper suggests a way for managers to integrate sustainability into strategy. It focuses on the strategic decisionmaking process, including the cognitive characteristics of strategic decision‐makers and the strategy content at the corporate, business and functional levels. The authors also address the role of organizational culture and vision in supporting sustainable strategies. The framework is illustrated by case examples of BHP Billiton, Loving Earth, the Australian Wine Industry, and Migros.

Practical implications

The framework can be used by managers and scholars to assess the degree to which organizations have strategically addressed sustainability and to identify opportunities for further improvements.

Originality/value

The value of this paper lies in the treatment of sustainability as a strategic, as opposed to an operational, issue. By adopting a strategic approach to sustainability, organizations are more likely to include economic, environmental and social considerations in all aspects of business on an ongoing basis.

Details

Journal of Business Strategy, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0275-6668

Keywords

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