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Strengthening or Restricting? Explaining the Covid-19 Pandemic’s Configurational Effects on Companies’ Sustainability Strategies and Practices

Hamann, Ralph; Sewlal, Alecia; Pariag-Maraye, Neeveditah; Muthuri, Judy; Amaeshi, Kenneth; Nwagwu, Ijeoma; Soderbergh, Jenny

Strengthening or Restricting? Explaining the Covid-19 Pandemic’s Configurational Effects on Companies’ Sustainability Strategies and Practices Thumbnail


Authors

Ralph Hamann

Alecia Sewlal

Neeveditah Pariag-Maraye

JUDY MUTHURI judy.muthuri@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Sustainable Business and Development

Kenneth Amaeshi

Ijeoma Nwagwu

Jenny Soderbergh



Abstract

We explore the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on companies’ sustainability strategies and practices. Prior research has identified a number of factors that shape such effects, including crisis severity, resource slack, and prior investments, but their interactions have not been given much attention. We thus collected qualitative data on 25 companies in four African countries, which we analyzed inductively and iteratively through cross-case comparison and with fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis. We identify two pathways associated with strengthening responses (“building on strengths” and “governance gap-filling”) and three associated with restricting responses (“hard hit,” “low-road business-as-usual,” and “bunkering down”). Our findings enhance our understanding of organizational responses to crises by attending to configurational effects, by elaborating the role of prior sustainability investments, and by foregrounding the relevance of governance contexts. We describe implications for future research and managers, investors, and sustainability initiatives such as the United Nations Global Compact.

Citation

Hamann, R., Sewlal, A., Pariag-Maraye, N., Muthuri, J., Amaeshi, K., Nwagwu, I., & Soderbergh, J. (2024). Strengthening or Restricting? Explaining the Covid-19 Pandemic’s Configurational Effects on Companies’ Sustainability Strategies and Practices. Business and Society, 63(4), 774-812. https://doi.org/10.1177/00076503221134100

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 5, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 29, 2022
Publication Date 2024-04
Deposit Date Sep 8, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2022
Journal Business and Society
Print ISSN 0007-6503
Electronic ISSN 1552-4205
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 63
Issue 4
Pages 774-812
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/00076503221134100
Keywords Crisis; threat-rigidity; Covid-19; sustainability; strategy; Africa
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/10916315
Publisher URL https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00076503221134100

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