The impact of organisational alignment on the effectiveness of firms’ sustainability strategic performance measurement systems: an empirical analysis

Abstract

Sustainability is becoming a mainstream issue for many organisations. A limited number of studies exist, however, on integrating sustainability into daily practices. Indeed, most of the research to date addresses only the definition and motivation for companies’ interest in environmental and social concerns. This paper contributes to the research on integrating sustainability into companies’ daily activities both directly and indirectly. It analyses the extent to which top management’s commitment to sustainability directly affects structural and social alignment and the effectiveness of measurement systems that monitor sustainability strategic performance and indirectly impacts firms’ social and environmental performance. Based on a quantitative analysis of survey responses from 405 large European companies, this paper documents the limited impact of social alignment to firms’ social and environmental performance. More specifically, the results challenge the diffuse belief that the alignment and commitment of middle managers to sustainability strategies as defined by the upper echelons have a relevant impact on the company’s social and environmental performance.

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Fig. 1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    In the present study, the dimension of the firms in the sample is based on the definition provided by the EU (European Commission 2003). Micro-firms have 1–9 employees and turnover does not exceed 2 million Euro; small enterprises have 10–49 employees and turnover varying from 3 to 10 million Euro; and medium enterprises have up to 250 employees and turnover less than or equal to 50 million Euro. All the firms involved in the survey had more than 500 employees.

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Table 5 Latent variables in the model

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Parisi, C. The impact of organisational alignment on the effectiveness of firms’ sustainability strategic performance measurement systems: an empirical analysis. J Manag Gov 17, 71–97 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10997-012-9219-4

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Keywords

  • Strategic performance measurement systems
  • Organisational alignment
  • Managerial perceptions
  • Sustainability
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Social and environmental performance
  • Structural equation modeling