Strengthening and encouraging women everywhere - A Nordic fashion company’s social sustainability vision
As time passes, sustainability concerns have increasingly moved up the corporate agenda, making it ‘the talk of the town’ within corporations all over the world. While there is extensive conceptual literature on how companies should or do integrate sustainability into strategy, there is still a lack of empirical studies on how this is done in practice, especially in relation to social issues in comparison to environmental ones. To address this gap within research, the following research question was chosen: How do companies attempt to integrate social sustainability issues into their strategy? This study draws on a qualitative case study of a Nordic fashion company’s attempt to integrate a social sustainability issue, by conforming its corporate vision to a women empowerment norm, claiming that its vision is to “strengthen and encourage women everywhere”. Based on legitimacy theory, this study shows that a Nordic fashion company’s launch of their social sustainable vision can be seen as a way for this company to integrate, in their main markets, a desirable societal idea of women empowerment into their strategy, arguably increasing their legitimacy. Thus, indicating that it, through legitimacy, attempts to integrate such an idea into their strategy. However, this study also shows that both internal and external actors claim there to be discrepancies between the vision and current corporate practices. This study shows a new perspective when integrating issues such as social sustainability, compared to environmental ones, into the company strategy, indicating that more research is needed on the subject. Further suggesting that challenges arising from such attempts, particularly regarding legitimacy, deserves more attention, including a more extensive focus on the perspectives of customers’ as well as the employees’. Finally, this study also contributes with insights regarding how companies comply with a desirable social idea through an extensive corporate vision. Highlighting the need to carry out the integration on a much broader scale than what the literature has seen before as it bears to cover all levels of the company’s strategy and its practices.
McS in Mangagement
Social sustainability vision
Women empowerment norm
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