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Values as the path to sustainability: A critical examination of the relationship between values and sustainability behaviour in organisations
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 01:45 authored by Tae Hee Jung
This thesis critically explores the idea that values drive sustainable behaviour in organisations. Concerns about a sustainable future are gaining a sense of urgency as much of the developed world attempts to address the depletion of essential life sustaining resources, environmental degradation, as well as a global series of social and economic crises. Corporations, as major entities of human behaviour, have a substantial role to play in working towards a sustainable human future. However, many have argued that this require a shift in values in organisations from traditional profit orientation to valuing people and planet as well.This dissertation presents the results of two studies which examine the link between organisational values and sustainability outcomes, in particular the three P's of people, planet and profit. The main research questions were: 1) What, if any, are the differences between sustainable, and less or non-sustainable companies, when profit outcomes and espoused values are compared. 2) How are organisational values filtered internally through the levels of the organisation, i.e individual/ team/ organisation, to achieve the sustainability outcomes of people, planet, profit? In addressing these questions, the following streams of theory were utilised: Stakeholder theory, the resource based view (RBV), sense making theory and the multilevel approach to organisational research. These theories assisted in predicting and interpreting the link between sustainability values,the sustainability outcomes of people, planet, profit and how values of this nature might be actioned within the organisation itself. The studies thereby provide a basis for future research that can go on to demonstrate a quantifiable and causal connection between the behaviour of people at work and the sustainability of organisations.