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ILO Paper among AMJ Most Read und Most Cited Papers 2020


We are happy to announce that the paper "Toward a Process Theory of Making Sustainability Strategies Legitimate in Action" by Dr. Iris-Ariane Hengst, Prof. Paula Jarzabkowski, Prof. Dr. Martin Högl and Prof. Dr. Miriam Müthel is the second most read and forth most cited paper 2020 of the Academy of Management Journal.


We draw on a three-year qualitative study of the processual dynamics of implementing a
sustainability strategy alongside an existing mainstream competitive strategy. We show that
despite the legitimacy of the sustainability strategy at the organizational level, actors experience
tensions with its implementation at the action level vis-à-vis the mainstream strategy, thus
creating the potential for decoupling. Our findings show that working through these tensions on
specific tasks, enables actors to legitimate the sustainability strategy in action and to co-enact it
with the mainstream strategy within those tasks. Cumulatively, multiple instances of such coenactment
at the action level reinforce the organizational-level legitimacy of the sustainability
strategy and its integration with the mainstream strategy. We draw these findings together into a
dynamic process model that contributes to the literature on integration of dual strategies at the
action and organizational levels as a process of legitimacy making.

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