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Reactivity to sustainability metrics: A configurational study of motivation and capacity


Business Ethics Quarterly


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Authors / Editors

Slager R;Gond J-P;Crilly D


Publication Year



Previous research on reactivity – defined as changing organisational behaviour to better conform to the criteria of measurement in response to being measured – has found significant variation in company responses towards sustainability metrics. We propose that reactivity is driven by dialogue, motivation and capacity in a configurational way. Empirically, we use fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) to analyse company responses to the sustainability index FTSE4Good. We find evidence of complimentary and substitute effects between motivation and capacity. Based on these effects we develop a typology of reactivity to sustainability metrics, which also theorises the use of metrics as tools for performance feedback and the building of calculative capacity. We show that when reactivity is studied configurationally, we can identify previously underacknowledged types of responses. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications for studying and using sustainability metrics as governance tools for responsible behaviour.


Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA); Sustainability metrics; Reactivity; Motivation; Capacity; Dialogue

Available on ECCH


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