Macquarie University
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Impact of organizational culture on sustainability endeavours: the real story of sustainability

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posted on 2022-03-28, 16:50 authored by Lenore K. Pennington
Increasingly, organizations are expected to improve their ecological and environmental performance, and to contribute to local and global communities. Researchers have suggested organizations progress though different stages of commitment to sustainability, ranging from opposing sustainability, to fully embracing sustainability. Further, some advocate that organizations intending to adopt more environmentally and socially sustainable strategies and practices, should examine and transform their underlying values and beliefs, and cultivate a consistent, clearly articulated and shared organizational culture. However, little empirical work has been undertaken to understand the specific characteristics of such a culture, or its contribution to organizations’ commitment to embed sustainability. The dimensions of corporate cultures which researchers have purported to be important for embedding sustainability were delineated and tested in a rich mixed methods case study of a major Australian owned multinational organization. Two surveys were developed to measure the organization's commitment to sustainability and the presence of these cultural dimensions. In-depth senior executive interviews and a thematic document review completed the picture. Using IBM SPSS AMOS 21, a series of confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) assessed the factorial structures of survey scales, and the fit of the data to the model. Multigroup analysis determined the impact of subcultures. The qualitative interview and document data was coded and themed. Overall, the key findings were firstly, there are two distinct cultural aspects : general cultural dimensions, comprised of those which may exist in organizations regardless of whether they are progressing towards sustainability; and more specific susttainability cultural dimensions. Secondly, each of these had a strong positive association with organizational commitment to sustainability. Thirdly, of the 18 tested individual cultural dimensions, seven made a positive contribution to organizational commitment to sustainability. Finally, the study determined an organization's subcultures may make a very small difference to the relationships between organizational culture and organizational commitment to sustainability.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Literature review : organizational sustainability -- Chapter 3. Literature review : organizational culture -- Chapter 4. Research model -- Chapter 5. Research methodology -- Chapter 6. Analysis and outcomes -- Chapter 7. Discussion and conclusions.


Bibliography: pages 287-338 Empirical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Elizabeth More

Additional Supervisor 1



Copyright Lenore K. Pennington 2014. Copyright disclaimer:






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