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Redefining Strategy in the Age of Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Ioannou, Ioannis, Redefining Strategy in the Age of Sustainability and Social Responsibility (April 27, 2014). Available at SSRN:

“I examine how strategy is defined in the literature and find that most conceptualizations predominantly focus on financial metrics as measures of performance and mainly provide guidance on the strategic management of a corporation’s economic context. I also explore the work on externalities and corporate social responsibility to understand how environmental and social issues have been integrated in the literature. I find that environmental and social performance is examined either in isolation or by assuming a strong form of independence from financial performance. Therefore, I identify a clear gap in our understanding of the fundamental strategic problem in the age of sustainability and social responsibility. I highlight the urgent need for rigorous research around the phenomenon itself, and its theoretical implications for strategy as a field. Importantly, I suggest and discuss an extended definition (i.e., a reconceptualization) of strategy, and I refer to empirical evidence of the emergence of the “sustainable organization” — a distinct type of the modern corporation that effectively and profitably integrates environmental and social issues into its strategy. I also briefly suggest avenues for future research.”

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