From negative to positive sustainability performance measurement and assessment? A qualitative inquiry drawing on framing effects theory

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Current approaches to sustainability performance primarily capture the reduction of negative impacts, but are rather silent about creating positive sustainability performance (PSP). This paper draws on framing effects theory to argue why interviewees in our abductive single case study of the life cycle of a laundry detergent struggled to identify PSP. Based on the theory and our findings, we argue that negative sustainability performance is a “sticky” frame in individual perception, and propose a research agenda for PSP that discusses three research routes and key determinants (i.e., systemic mindsets, collective goals and collaboration, and a balanced view for sustainable value) to explain how the dominant negative frames can be overcome to advance PSP. This study contributes to the sustainability management and performance literature by illuminating a current blind spot (PSP) and how the dominant negative frame can be overcome.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1985-2001
Number of pages17
JournalBusiness strategy and the environment
Issue number5
Early online date8 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85124554062
WOS 000752761500001
Mendeley be471f2f-e7b4-3c35-bafa-2575f73f7c66
unpaywall 10.1002/bse.2994



  • business models, life cycle assessment, performance measurement, sustainability assessment, sustainability impact, sustainability management

Library keywords