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CEOs’ talk of sustainability: Towards an inclusion of an embeddedness andvalue-creation perspective

Arvidsson, Susanne LU (2019) In LSR Working Papers Series
Abstract
Purpose: This paper sets out to examine how CEOs’ talk of sustainability has developed in a period of increased expectations from society for companies to step up their transformation towards more sustainable businesses andbetter account for their progress and performance within the sustainability area.

Design/methodology/approach: By adopting an interpretive textual approach, this paper provides a careful analysis of how CEO talk of sustainability has developed in the largest listed Swedish companies during the period 2008-2017. The analysis focuses on the CEO letter.

Findings: TheCEOs’ talk of sustainability is becoming much more elaborated, proactive and also adopts a multi-dimensional approach towards... (More)
Purpose: This paper sets out to examine how CEOs’ talk of sustainability has developed in a period of increased expectations from society for companies to step up their transformation towards more sustainable businesses andbetter account for their progress and performance within the sustainability area.

Design/methodology/approach: By adopting an interpretive textual approach, this paper provides a careful analysis of how CEO talk of sustainability has developed in the largest listed Swedish companies during the period 2008-2017. The analysis focuses on the CEO letter.

Findings: TheCEOs’ talk of sustainability is becoming much more elaborated, proactive and also adopts a multi-dimensional approach towards sustainability. The CEOs frame their talk by adopting different perspectives over the period; the sticky environmental-, the performance and meso-, the product-market oriented-and the embeddedness and value-creation perspective.The most intriguing finding is that of a radical change in the CEOs’ talk of sustainability in the latest lettersindicating that the alleged capitalistic and short-sighted focus on value maximization and profitability might be changing for embedding more of sustainability dimensions.

Practical implications: The findings provide relevant inputs to the debate on how CEOs provide accountability to their stakeholders by framing their talk of sustainability from different perspectives.

Originality/value:This comprehensive analysis of how CEOs in the largest listed companies through their talk of sustainability provide accountability to their stakeholders, offers a unique frame of reference for further interpretational work on how CEOs frame, engage in andshape the sustainability discourse. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Working paper/Preprint
publication status
published
subject
keywords
CEO talk, Sustainability, CEO letters, Accountability, Organisational (managerial) attention, Corporate response, Q01, M14, M41
in
LSR Working Papers Series
issue
2019:02
pages
36 pages
project
Sustainable Future Hub
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5eeebaa4-d537-4907-9004-d1f35672a0b7
alternative location
https://www.lusem.lu.se/media/ehl/SFH/LSRWPS0219.pdf
date added to LUP
2020-02-07 14:08:06
date last changed
2020-02-07 14:16:18
@misc{5eeebaa4-d537-4907-9004-d1f35672a0b7,
  abstract     = {Purpose: This paper sets out to examine how CEOs’ talk of sustainability has developed in a period of increased expectations from society for companies to step up their transformation towards more sustainable businesses andbetter account for their progress and performance within the sustainability area.<br/><br/>Design/methodology/approach: By  adopting  an  interpretive  textual  approach,  this  paper  provides  a  careful analysis of how CEO talk of sustainability has developed in the largest listed Swedish companies during the period 2008-2017. The analysis focuses on the CEO letter.<br/><br/>Findings: TheCEOs’ talk of sustainability is becoming much more elaborated, proactive and also adopts a multi-dimensional approach towards sustainability. The CEOs frame their talk by adopting different perspectives over the  period; the  sticky  environmental-, the  performance  and  meso-, the  product-market  oriented-and the embeddedness and value-creation perspective.The most intriguing finding is that of a radical change in the CEOs’ talk of sustainability in the latest lettersindicating that the alleged capitalistic and short-sighted focus on value maximization and profitability might be changing for embedding more of sustainability dimensions. <br/><br/>Practical implications: The findings provide relevant inputs to the debate on how CEOs provide accountability to their stakeholders by framing their talk of sustainability from different perspectives. <br/><br/>Originality/value:This comprehensive analysis of how CEOs in the largest listed companies through their talk of  sustainability  provide  accountability  to  their  stakeholders,  offers  a  unique  frame  of  reference  for  further interpretational work on how CEOs frame, engage in andshape the sustainability discourse.},
  author       = {Arvidsson, Susanne},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {2019:02},
  series       = {LSR Working Papers Series},
  title        = {CEOs’ talk of sustainability: Towards an inclusion of an embeddedness andvalue-creation perspective},
  url          = {https://www.lusem.lu.se/media/ehl/SFH/LSRWPS0219.pdf},
  year         = {2019},
}