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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
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
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},
}