ESG metrics in performance management - narratives of internal and external consequences by selected sustainability corporate actors

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Management and International Business (MIB)
95 + 11
The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the views and experiences of selected top corporate actors on the use of environmental, social and governance (ESG) sustainability metrics in performance management. In particular, the focus is on these actors’ narratives when talking about the topic. Previous research has covered in particular investors' perspectives on ESG metrics. Therefore, it is worthwhile to fill the gap and produce new information through research interviews that provide a perspective from the management side. Eight corporate actors (middle and top management, board members) from different sized organizations were interviewed. The interviews were conducted as semi-structured interviews and data was analyzed using data-driven content analysis. The findings indicate the perceived success of sustainability work, and the identified narratives (critical, frustrated, and optimistic) vary depending on the level of change management and the actor's position in the organization. The results show that the challenges related to the use of ESG metrics by management are particularly related to the lack of standardization and prioritization of sustainability issues by top management and board. Further research is needed to identify successful ESG change management practices and to develop a frame-work to support sustainable development change management as new standardizations emerge.
Thesis advisor
Vuorenmaa, Hertta
ESG, change management, sustainability management, corporate social responsibility
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