Why social sustainability counts: The impact of corporate social sustainability culture on financial success
Journal article, 2019

Awareness is growing in European companies of the importance of managing all aspects of sustainability. However, the elusive social aspect of sustainability and its influence on successful business has been under-investigated in corporate culture literature so far. The aim of this paper is to examine whether a correlation can be found between corporate social sustainability culture (expressed as explicit ‘‘items’’ of corporate values and practices emphasizing employee and societal well-being) and the financial success of a company. This is examined through a multiple regression analysis of two contrasting European polls, examining items indicating corporate social sustainability culture, and financial outcomes. The empirical results show that four specific success-related social sustainability dimensions of corporate culture are predictors of a company being classified as financially successful. These are: Sustainability strategy and leadership; Mission, communication and learning; Social care and work life; and Loyalty and identification. The paper contributes to the understanding of how to manage corporate social sustainability culture whilst supporting companies’ financial performance, and provides evidence-grounded recommendations to business managers and stakeholders aiming to manage social sustainability proactively by undertaking cultural change and development initiatives.

success factors

corporate sustainability

social sustainability

corporate culture


financial performance


Gregor Schönborn

Deep White GmbH

Cecilia Berlin

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Marta Pinzone

Polytechnic University of Milan

Christoph Hanisch

Festo Ag & Co Kg

Konstantinos Georgoulias

Universityof Patras

Minna Lanz

University of Tampere

Sustainable Production and Consumption

2352-5509 (eISSN)

Vol. 17 1-10

Socially sustainable manufacturing for the Factories of the Future (SO SMART)

European Commission (EC) (EC/FP7/608734), 2013-09-01 -- 2015-02-28.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Work Sciences

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Cultural Studies

Business Administration

Areas of Advance




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