How Does the Diversity and Structure of a Firm's Network Affect its Sustainability Performance

The Management and Marketing Group at the University Essex, Essex Business School, warmly invite you to this research seminar with guest speaker Dr Naeem Ashraf from Montpellier Business School, France.

  • Wed 19 May 21

    13:00 - 14:00

  • Online

    Join this Seminar

  • Event speaker

    Dr Naeem Ashraf, Montpellier Business School (France)

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Management and Marketing Group Research Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Essex Business School

  • Contact details

    Dr Shakaib Akram

The Management and Marketing Group at the Essex Business School bring you this research seminar with guest speaker Dr Naeem Ashraf as he discusses his work on how firms manage their sustainability performance.

Seminar abstract

To tackle sustainability, firms often use partnerships with organizations from different industries or societal sectors such as government and civil society.

When a focal firm's partners hold different frames - cognitive template to construct meaning around organizational activities, the advantage of access to diverse cognitive resources to a focal firm does not last long as a firm's cost to handle contests, contradictions, and coordination with partners holding a different frame trump the benefits of diversity.

Considering that sustainability is an “umbrella concept” and has different meanings for different organizations, and if focal firm's framing of sustainability differs from that of its partners, it faces unity/diversity tensions, and its performance will be nonlinear.

Moreover, firm's framing or translation of issues is influenced by sectoral logics - rules and conventions which set the parameters for defining the salience of issues, problems and their solutions. The unity/diversity consequences are exacerbated for a firm with more cross-sector partners.

The relational position of firms influences the socially constructed symbolic and material practices. How sustainability is viewed, and what measures are taken to improve the performance depends on a firm's network position. Frms’ brokerage position at the interstitial spaces influence their translation, interpretations, and actions. A firm's brokerage position, or existence of structural holes in its network, provides it with an opportunity to manage the diverse partners, but at the cost of understanding them.

Based on the analyses 1353 greenhouse gas emission reduction projects of 322 firms from developing countries active in the carbon-offset market from 2007 to 2009. We show that if partners hold different frames and belong to different sectors, a firm's sustainability performance improves first due to learning from diversity but after a turning point decreases from a lack of unity. This inverse U-shape relationship is flipped if a firm occupies a brokerage position in its network.


This seminar is free to attend with no need to register in advance.

We warmly invite you to join this seminar online on Wednesday 19 May at 1pm.

Speaker bio

Dr. Naeem Ashraf is currently working as an Assistant Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship, Montpellier Business School, France.

He received his PhD in Management Science from IAE, Aix-Marseille University, France.

During his professional career that spans more than eighteen years, he served in senior positions in different sectors that include higher education, fertilizers, automobile, and Pakistan’ national space agency.

He was also a member of the core team of consultants at Lahore University of Management Sciences, to train C-suite executives, and board of directors.

His areas of research interest are inter-organizational relationships, organizational behavior, and business ethics.

He has published in Organization, Journal of Management Studies, Long Range Planning, Journal of Business Ethics besides other journals.

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