Corporate sustainability: An IS approach for integrating triple bottom line elements

Sitalakshmi Venkatraman, Raveendranath Ravi Nayak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the inter-relationships among three triple bottom line (TBL) outcomes of corporate sustainability, namely, corporate environmental performance outcome (CEPO), corporate social performance outcome (CSPO) and corporate financial performance outcome (CFPO), with the aid of an empirical study conducted in Australian businesses. The paper also aims to provide a roadmap for integrating sustainable business practices using information systems (IS) approach of continuous improvement lifecycle. Current business practices try to achieve economic, social and ecological goals independently as silos due to the individual operational challenges posed by each of these TBL principles. Design/methodology/approach - The research design mainly adopts a quantitative research methodology with data collected by means of a survey questionnaire that included both descriptive and exploratory flavour. The empirical study examines the relationships of TBL elements as perceived by 85 different Australian-based large, medium as well as small business organisations. The data collected were analysed by performing factor analysis on 21 items, resulting in three latent factors that were aligned to TBL outcomes and the correlations among them were analysed to assess their inter-relationships. Findings - The results of the study report weak and positive relationships existing between the TBL elements, with insights gained through the study leading towards useful implications that are well-supported by the qualitative feedback. The empirical study has also resulted in providing practical recommendations and an implementation framework consisting of a four-step roadmap with the participation of quality circles within an IS approach. Practical implications - The study focuses on inter-relationships and integration of TBL elements in Australian businesses. This could be extended to other businesses in different countries. The proposed roadmap with a continuous improvement cycle of system implementation steps facilitates any organisation to adopt an incremental integration of the social responsibility and environment protection practices within its core business operations for achieving corporate sustainability. Originality/value - While most of the TBL studies conducted worldwide focus on predominantly assessing large organisations towards responsible and sustainable business practices, this paper considers large, medium and small businesses. The research methodology adopted in this study as well as the proposed IS approach with quality circles add value to a growing body of literature with a recent increasing focus on integrated approaches for corporate sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-501
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Responsibility Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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