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Understanding Interdependencies among Social Sustainability Evaluation Criteria in an Emerging Economy

Vafadarnikjoo, Amin and Ahmadi, Hadi Badri and Hazen, Benjamin Thomas and Liou, James JH (2020) Understanding Interdependencies among Social Sustainability Evaluation Criteria in an Emerging Economy. Sustainability, 12 (5). p. 1934.


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Organizations need to consider the triple bottom line (3BL) model of sustainability to maintain competitiveness in global markets. Of 3BL, environmental and economic sustainability pillars are more often discussed, as they are most directly related to a firm’s bottom line and regulatory compliance. Unfortunately, social sustainability receives relatively little attention even though it remains a significant threat to organizational sustainment, particularly in emerging economies. This study builds upon a social sustainability evaluation framework to investigate the interrelationships among social sustainability criteria in an effort to better understand how to improve social sustainability performance. A unique hybrid of interpretive structural modeling (ISM) and hesitant fuzzy matrix of cross impact multiplications applied to classification (HF-MICMAC) methodology is introduced and employed to determine the interrelationships (drivers and dependences) among social sustainability criteria. Then, a manufacturing company is used as the backdrop to test the efficacy of the expanded framework. The findings can aid industry decision-makers, especially in developing countries, to better understand and manage social issues, improve social dimension of sustainability, enhance the sustainability in operations and shift towards sustainable development.

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