A Systematic Review for Practitioners and Academics

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 12.52.30 PM

Systematic Review


Corporate short-termism is one of the most significant issues confronting both business and society today. Short-term action offers quick wins, while long-term action offers lasting success and sustainability. Businesses must take both kinds of action — but too often, they prioritize the short term.

Bringing Long-Term Thinking into Business provides useful tools and authoritative insights into how businesses can better incorporate long-term thinking into their organizational fabric.

What's in the Report?

Our approach synthesizes existing knowledge about incorporating long-term impacts into today’s decisions, and the benefits of long-termism over short-termism. Based on a comprehensive review of academic journal articles, as well as highly salient industry reports and popular press, the report addresses three research questions:

  1. What are the contributors to, and consequences of, short-term decision-making in organizations?
  2. When are the consequences of short-term decision-making at odds with sustainability?
  3. What are the decision-making processes that incorporate both the short term and long term?

Advantages of Short and Long Term Decisions

Our approach differs from much of the practitioner literature on short-termism, which puts a lot of weight on actors in the finance chain, or the potential for government interventions. Instead, we view top managers of businesses as the most likely group to initiate changes for the better.

Who Should Read the Report?

Designed primarily for academics and practitioners, this Systematic Review describes:

  • Factors affecting short- and long-term thinking in organizations
  • The impacts of short and long-term thinking on organizational outcomes
  • Remaining research needs

We hope it will enable practitioners to better communicate their rationale for long-term planning to the key stakeholders and decision-makers in their organization.

About the Research

Dr. David Souder, Dr. Greg Reilly, and Rebecca Ranucci, at the University of Connecticut (United States). They scanned 6,000 sources to draw on the best articles, reports and books by academics, industry, government and NGOs. This report addresses one of the top priorities identified by the NBS Canada Leadership Council in 2014. NBS systematic reviews synthesize existing research and practical knowledge to provide guidance on key sustainability issues.


Practitioner Tools (Additional Resources)

exec report cover icon Download the Executive Review to understand the key takeaways from the research, and how it applies to managers and executives.
primer cover icon Share the primer with colleagues to introduce others in your organization or your industry to the topic.
graphics icon Use the graphics contained in the executive review in your next presentation.