Department of Management

Micro-level translation of corporate sustainability: when strategy meets practice in the Danish hospitality sector

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Corporate Sustainability provides a frame of reference for making business behaviour more ethical and environmentally sound. Despite good intentions, however, Corporate Sustainability strategies come with the risk of being decoupled from organizational practices. This article addresses this inconsistency by examining how Corporate Sustainability strategies are transformed into organizational work practices in the hospitality sector, where waste generation and the consumption of water and energy are major environmental liabilities. This paper is based on a micro-level inquiry into three Danish hotels in which the translation perspective in organizational research is adopted to analyze how both managers and front-line employees engage in translation work. Two modes of organizational translation are distinguished: first, high-mode translation, signifying upper management's transformation of ideas about sustainability into strategies, standards and new labels in order to signal uniqueness; and secondly, operational-mode translation, where lower-level managers and front-line employees (a) adapt and appropriate sustainability strategies designed by top management, and (b) themselves engage as employees in bottom up-driven sustainability translation. This study offers new insights into the micro-level translation of Corporate Sustainability, complementing the strategic perspective that has hitherto dominated research into Corporate Sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118159
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Corporate sustainability, Denmark, Environmental sustainability active translators, Hospitality, Sustainability practices, Translation

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