The Use of Causal Mapping in the Design of Sustainability Performance Measurement Systems: Evidence from Novo Nordisk

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The purpose of this study is to illustrate the use of the ad hoc methodology of causal mapping to support the process of quantifying the financial returns related to sustainability investments. The present study uses two methods to build causal maps, that is aggregate and congregate mapping, in order to capture managerial cognition and derive a model that reflects companies’ competitive advantages. The resulting causal map is a prerequisite and serves as a building block for the design of the organisation’s performance management systems for sustainability.

This study relies on qualitative, deductive research undertaken at the leading international pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. This chapter presents the results of a longitudinal study developed through an action research approach conducted at the Company over a four-year period.

This study illustrates how the described approach for developing causal maps can facilitate the elicitation of managerial tacit knowledge and the consequent identification of indicators to quantify the investments in sustainability.

This chapter proves the relevance of causal mapping as a comprehensive, articulated basis for developing and improving organisations’ strategic performance measurement systems (SPMSs).

This study’s main contribution is the triangulation of multiple qualitative methods to enhance the reliability of causal maps. This innovative approach supports the use of causal mapping to extract managerial tacit knowledge in order to identify indicators for the evaluation of investments in sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAccounting and Control for Sustainability
EditorsLucrezia Songini, Anna Pistoni, Christian Herzig
Place of Publicationwww
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Publication date2013
ISBN (Print)9781780527666
ISBN (Electronic)9781780527673
Publication statusPublished - 2013
SeriesStudies in Managerial and Financial Accounting

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