Systematic Review

Integrated management systems as a driver for sustainability: the review and analysis of the literature and the proposition of the conceptual framework

Jeniffer de Nadae; Marly Monteiro de Carvalho

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Abstract: Paper aims: This paper aims to analyze the literature on standard management systems (ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, SA 8000, and ISO 26000), and to propose a conceptual framework relating these standards to sustainability (based on TBL) to help answer the following research question: How does the literature address IMS and sustainability based on TBL?

Originality: This research sheds light on controversies, discussed in the literature, concerning the effects of IMS with sustainability standards.

Research method: The methodological approach used is a systematic literature review based on bibliometric theory and social network analysis. A conceptual model is presented, linking the main constructs, variables, and their relations to better understand the role of IMS as a driver for sustainability.

Main findings: Briefly, results show that more research is needed on the social dimension of Triple Bottom Line, especially in the standards OHSAS 18001, ISO 26000, and SA 8000. Moreover, there is a gap considering empirical data on relating IMS impact on performance.

Implications for theory and practice: This paper contributes by proposing a conceptual model, defining the variables and presenting four relational propositions among the key variables. In a future research agenda, this study could be applied to survey-based research to answer the research propositions suggested.


Sustainability, Integrated management system, Standard management systems, Bibliometric approach


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