Multinational Enterprise Strategies for Addressing Sustainability: the Need for Consolidation

Abstract

This paper examines the growing number of publications on multinational enterprise management of sustainability issues. Based on an integrative literature review and thematic analysis, the paper analyses and synthesises the current state of knowledge about main issues arising. Key issues identified include the following: choice of sustainability strategies; management of the views of headquarters towards sustainability; local cultural sustainability perspectives in developed and developing host countries; MNEs with home in developing/emerging countries; and resource availability for implementing sustainability initiatives. Findings indicate that although the literature is tending towards growing acceptance about sustainability and its challenges most researchers have focused on corporate social responsibility and investigate their own niche problem, industry, and country, using their own chosen theory and do not consider the need for consolidation and integration of social, environmental and economic performance. Avenues for future research are identified which will provide a means for the ethical foundations of theory and practice to be improved.

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Funding

This study was partially funded by the Management Discipline Group Research Grants Scheme, University of Technology Sydney Business School, Sydney, Australia, Grant Number 103010/0210595.

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Correspondence to Roger Leonard Burritt.

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Professor Roger Burritt declares that he has no conflict of interest. Dr Katherine Christ declares that she has no conflict of interest. Associate Professor Hussain Rammal has received a research Grant from his employing university, the University of Technology Sydney (Number103010/0210595), and has no conflict of interest. Professor Stefan Schaltagger declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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Burritt, R.L., Christ, K.L., Rammal, H.G. et al. Multinational Enterprise Strategies for Addressing Sustainability: the Need for Consolidation. J Bus Ethics 164, 389–410 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-018-4066-0

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Keywords

  • Multinational enterprise
  • Sustainability strategy
  • Distance