Sustainability: Implications for organizations

Dilchert, S., Wiernik, B. M., & Ones, D. S.
In S. G. Rogelberg (Ed.),
The SAGE Encyclopedia of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (2nd ed.).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
(2016, October)

Sustainability refers to an organization’s ability to deliver enduring performance and thus continue to exist over time. In this regard, performance refers not only to a company’s financial results. Sustainability applies to a wide range of organizations (e.g., businesses, not-for-profit, non-governmental organizations) and encompasses performance in the economic/financial, social, and environmental domains. This conceptualization of sustainability—which includes the notion that the three different aspects of organizational performance are interconnected and equally important for long-term survival of an organization—has been described as the “triple bottom line.” Over the last three decades, research in the organizational sciences as well as applied practice has focused on the social aspect of organizational performance, such as employee welfare, community outreach, and charitable involvement. Most recently, climate change and ensuing societal awareness have triggered increasing attention on the environmental dimension of organizational performance and have resulted in a growing movement focused on environmental sustainability within industrial-organizational psychology.