The dark side of sustainability orientation for SME performance

Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
Date
2020-11
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
Series
Journal of Business Venturing Insights, Volume 14
Abstract
This article examines how a firm's willingness to make trade-offs that favour sustainability over commercial goals attenuates the relationship between firm-level sustainability orientation and subsequent performance. The hypothesis development draws on stakeholder theory and the literature on mission and revenue drifts, while the empirical analysis is based on two waves of original survey data on Finnish manufacturing SMEs. We find that sustainability orientation is positively associated with performance only when the willingness to make sustainability trade-offs is low, whereas the relationship becomes negative when the willingness to make such trade-offs is high. Our findings thus suggest that the popular adage of doing well by doing good might only hold if doing good does not conflict with business interests. The results add to stakeholder theory by showing how conforming to stakeholder expectations can be good for business – but only if doing so does not seriously compromise the pursuit of profits.
Description
Keywords
Performance, SME, Sustainability orientation, Sustainability trade-offs, Sustainable entrepreneurship
Other note
Citation
Kautonen, T, Schillebeeckx, S J D, Gartner, J, Hakala, H, Salmela-Aro, K & Snellman, K 2020, ' The dark side of sustainability orientation for SME performance ', Journal of Business Venturing Insights, vol. 14, e00198 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbvi.2020.e00198