Macquarie University
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Values as the path to sustainability: A critical examination of the relationship between values and sustainability behaviour in organisations

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posted 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.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: General Introduction -- Chapter 2: How Ethical Shareholders Drive Sustainability : Combining Stakeholder Theory and the Resource Based View -- Chapter 3: How Values for Sustainability are Enacted : A Multilevel Examination -- Chapter 4: General Discussion and Conclusion


Theoretical thesis. Included bibliographic references

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MPhil


MPhil, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Louise Metcalf

Additional Supervisor 1

Paul Beggs


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