Trifecta : embedded sustainability criterion dismantling barriers through learning and full suite of power tools
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This dissertation uses a multiple case study format with polar sampling to examine the organizational strategies and processes underlying two firms’ successful sustainability programs, in order to understand the factors leading to positive sustainability outcomes. Particular attention is given to the values underlying sustainable development objectives, the means of institutionalizing those values, and the organizational strategies and resources utilized to protect those values while simultaneously serving other important organizational values. The two organizations studied have different business structures and decision-making processes; however, they share three key features that empower strong sustainability outcomes. First, each organization has an embedded sustainability criterion that ensures the organization acts on sustainability concerns across its value chain. Second, each has learning processes by which it dismantles barriers to sustainability. Third, each organization supports sustainability learning activities with a full suite of what researchers have called “empowerment tools,” a variety of infrastructural resources without which learning rarely occurs. This study offers a three-pronged strategy for organizational sustainability tailorable to the individual firm, and may be of interest to firms searching for a “do-able” alternative. It brings novel, grounded data to bear on conventional views about embedding sustainability across an organization and about the need to build an organizational culture of sustainability. It supports recent comments in the literature about the role of the business case in sustainability behavior. Although much has been written about sustainable development, research investigating the ways firms choose to overcome barriers to sustainable development is at its beginning. This study helps to fill that void.
Table of Contents
Abstract -- List of illustrations -- List of tables -- Acknowledgements -- Dedication -- Introduction and overview -- Literature review -- Theoretical framework, research design, and methodology -- The Cases: seventh generation and Cox Arizona -- Application of grounded theory method to the data -- Core concept: embedded sustainability -- Core concepts: learning processes to dismantle barriers and power tools to support learning -- Conclusions -- Strengths and weaknesses of the study and future research considerations -- Appendix -- References