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Legitimacy and Organizational Sustainability

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  • Tom Thomas

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  • Eric Lamm

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    Abstract

    The literature regarding social and environmental sustainability of business focuses primarily on rationales for adopting sustainability strategies and operational practices in support of that goal. In contrast, we examine sustainability from a perspective that has received far less research attention—attitudes that inform managerial decision-making. We develop a conceptual model that identifies six elemental categories of attitudes that can be held independently or aggregated to yield a meta-attitude representing the legitimacy of sustainability. Our model distinguishes among three types of internally held attitudes and externally perceived subjective norms: pragmatic, moral, and cognitive. We propose a refinement of Ajzen’s (In: Kuhl J, Beckmann J (eds) Action control: from cognition to behavior, 1985 ; Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 50:179–211, 1991 ) Theory of planned behavior (TPB) that incorporates these sub-categories of personal attitudes and subjective norms. Practical implications are discussed including how organizations considering adopting sustainability programs might use the model as a conceptual tool to help achieve and assess program success. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10551-012-1421-4
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 110 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages: 191-203

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:110:y:2012:i:2:p:191-203

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100281

    Related research

    Keywords: Sustainability; Legitimacy; Managerial attitudes; Theory of planned behavior;

    References

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    1. James G. March, 1978. "Bounded Rationality, Ambiguity, and the Engineering of Choice," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 587-608, Autumn.
    2. Laura Hartman & Robert Rubin & K. Dhanda, 2007. "The Communication of Corporate Social Responsibility: United States and European Union Multinational Corporations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 74(4), pages 373-389, September.
    3. Pablo Rodrigo & Daniel Arenas, 2008. "Do Employees Care About CSR Programs? A Typology of Employees According to their Attitudes," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(2), pages 265-283, December.
    4. Delyse Springett & Kate Kearins, 2001. "Gaining legitimacy? Sustainable development in business school curricula," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 213-221.
    5. Gowdy, John & O'Hara, Sabine, 1997. "Weak sustainability and viable technologies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 239-247, September.
    6. Málovics, György & Csigéné, Noémi Nagypál & Kraus, Sascha, 2008. "The role of corporate social responsibility in strong sustainability," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 907-918, June.
    7. Charles Cho & Dennis Patten & Robin Roberts, 2006. "Corporate Political Strategy: An Examination of the Relation between Political Expenditures, Environmental Performance, and Environmental Disclosure," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 139-154, August.
    8. Tim Newton, 1997. "Green Business: Technicist Kitsch?," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1), pages 75-98, 01.
    9. House, Robert & Javidan, Mansour & Hanges, Paul & Dorfman, Peter, 2002. "Understanding cultures and implicit leadership theories across the globe: an introduction to project GLOBE," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 3-10, April.
    10. Daly, Herman E., 1992. "Allocation, distribution, and scale: towards an economics that is efficient, just, and sustainable," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 185-193, December.
    11. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1986. "Rational Choice and the Framing of Decisions," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S251-78, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Kumar, Bipul & Sinha, Piyush Kumar & Shukla, P. R. & Abhishek, . "Broadening the Concept of Sustainability and Measuring its Impact on Firm’s Performance," IIMA Working Papers WP2013-08-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    2. Deborah de Lange & Timo Busch & Javier Delgado-Ceballos, 2012. "Sustaining Sustainability in Organizations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 110(2), pages 151-156, October.

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