A holistic approach toward sustainability performance: the role of the human and financial factors


Chams, Nour  


During the last decades and the aftermath of the industrial revolution, sustainability performance has been a “common” concern among policy-makers and regulators, scientists and scholars, practitioners and business leaders. A drastic metamorphosis and strategic shifting have been occurring in the corporate world and in several organizations to accommodate the emergent need of sustainability performance and to accomplish the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Accordingly, this PhD thesis investigates the impact of the human factor and financial indicators on sustainability performance. The main purpose of this thesis is to unveil the antecedents of environmental and social practices at both organizational and cross-national perspectives. Embracing both qualitative and quantitative research designs, we examine the pre-requisites of sustainability performance from multi-disciplinary perspectives: from green human resources management, from corporate governance as board of directors, and from financial performance as liquidity and firm market valuation. Moreover, we make sure to rely on validated, reliable, and commonly applied indices in the literature i.e., Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and environmental, social, and governance index (ESG) of Thomson Reuters Eikon database, as proxies of sustainability practices. The structure of this doctoral thesis consists of the following chapters: Chapters 1and 5 constitute the Introduction and the Conclusion of the thesis; Chapters 2, 3, and 4 represents the three research studies conducted during the PhD program. Chapter 2 consists of a systematic literature review identifying the antecedents, outcomes, and barriers of sustainable human resources management (SHRM). Chapter 3 comprises an empirical analysis investigating the determinants of board of directors (BOD) that enhance sustainability practices and examines the discrepancies of the BOD characteristics between European and non-European organizations. Last but not least, Chapter 4 investigates the nexus between financial performance (free cash flow and Tobin´s Q) and environmental, social and governance scores and empirically tests the moderator effect of total quality management (TQM) on this association. Overall, the results of Chapter 3 reveal a positive and significant association between board of directors characteristics and sustainability performance. At cross-national level, the regression analysis provide statistical evidences supporting the differences among BOD indicators between European and non-European firms. While, the BOD demographic determinants are the antecedents of sustainability practices in European companies, structure and composition of the BOD are the pre-requisites of sustainability performance in non-European context. As for Chapter 4, the findings indicate a catalyst effect between firm´s liquidity and ESG performance. While the interaction between TQM and liquidity factor has a negative effect on ESG, the interaction between TQM and Tobin’s Q reveals a positive and significant relationship with ESG.




García Blandón, Josep 


IQS SM - Economia i Finances

Date of defense