Leading corporate sustainability

The role of top management team composition for triple bottom line performance

Leona Henry, T. Buyl, R.J.G. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Sustainable development at the corporate level requires balancing social, environmental, and financial performance goals. Achieving such “triple bottom line” (TBL) performance is a very challenging task. In this study, we explore the role the organization's top management team (TMT) plays in leading their organization towards corporate sustainability. We focus on how two distinct aspects of the TMT's structural composition—the presence of a “chief sustainability officer” (CSO) and the TMT's functional diversity—affect the organization's ability to reach high levels of TBL performance. We follow the presence of 22 global energy companies in Corporate Knight's “Global 100” sustainability index for a period of 11 years and find that, surprisingly, the presence of a CSO does not boost TBL performance. However, we do find a positive effect for TMT functional diversity, suggesting that more diverse TMTs are better able to lead their organization to higher levels of TBL performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-184
JournalBusiness Strategy and the Environment
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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sustainability
management
performance
organization
sustainable development
Corporate sustainability
Triple bottom line
Top management teams
Team composition
energy
ability
Sustainability

Keywords

  • EVOLUTION
  • FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
  • FIRM PERFORMANCE
  • FUNCTIONAL DIVERSITY
  • HETEROGENEITY
  • INNOVATION
  • LEADERSHIP
  • MEASUREMENT SYSTEMS
  • STRATEGIC DECISION-MAKING
  • TMT diversity
  • TRADE-OFFS
  • chief sustainability officer
  • corporate sustainability
  • sustainable development
  • top management team
  • triple bottom line performance

Cite this

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title = "Leading corporate sustainability: The role of top management team composition for triple bottom line performance",
abstract = "Sustainable development at the corporate level requires balancing social, environmental, and financial performance goals. Achieving such “triple bottom line” (TBL) performance is a very challenging task. In this study, we explore the role the organization's top management team (TMT) plays in leading their organization towards corporate sustainability. We focus on how two distinct aspects of the TMT's structural composition—the presence of a “chief sustainability officer” (CSO) and the TMT's functional diversity—affect the organization's ability to reach high levels of TBL performance. We follow the presence of 22 global energy companies in Corporate Knight's “Global 100” sustainability index for a period of 11 years and find that, surprisingly, the presence of a CSO does not boost TBL performance. However, we do find a positive effect for TMT functional diversity, suggesting that more diverse TMTs are better able to lead their organization to higher levels of TBL performance.",
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Leading corporate sustainability : The role of top management team composition for triple bottom line performance. / Henry, Leona; Buyl, T.; Jansen, R.J.G.

In: Business Strategy and the Environment, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2019, p. 173-184.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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