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Corporate Purpose and Employee Sustainability Behaviors

Author

Listed:
  • C. B. Bhattacharya

    (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Sankar Sen

    (Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College—City University of New York)

  • Laura Marie Edinger-Schons

    (University of Mannheim)

  • Michael Neureiter

    (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of employees’ sense that they work for a purpose-driven company on their workplace sustainability behaviors. Conceptualizing corporate purpose as an overarching, relevant, shared ethical vision of why a company exists and where it needs to go, we argue that it is particularly suited for driving employee sustainability behaviors, which are more ethically complex than the types of employee ethical behaviors typically examined by prior research. Through four studies, two involving the actual employees of construction companies, we demonstrate that purpose drives the sustainability behaviors of employees by causing them to take psychological ownership of sustainability. In addition, we show that the sustainability-enhancing effect of purpose is stronger when employees perceive that they have higher autonomy in enacting their sustainability actions and for those employees for whom being moral is more central to their sense of self.

Suggested Citation

  • C. B. Bhattacharya & Sankar Sen & Laura Marie Edinger-Schons & Michael Neureiter, 2023. "Corporate Purpose and Employee Sustainability Behaviors," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 183(4), pages 963-981, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:183:y:2023:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-022-05090-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-022-05090-5
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    Cited by:

    1. Francesca Collevecchio & Gianluca Gionfriddo, 2023. "Adopting a social purpose in for-profit firms: the role of the board of directors," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 1467-1499, September.
    2. Dianru Zhang & Chi Zhang & Li Wang, 2023. "Preventing Moral Crisis and Promoting Sustainable Development in Enterprises: A Study of Managers’ Moral Decision-Making," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(15), pages 1-18, July.
    3. Madalina Manolache & Gheorghe Epuran, 2023. "The Mediating Impact of Goal–Role Clarity on the Relationship between Feedback–Seeking Behavior and Goal Orientations with Job Satisfaction Intrinsic Cognitions and Person–Organization Fit," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(17), pages 1-33, August.
    4. Ge Yan & Liang Meng & Bo Li & Jiamin Li, 2023. "How Can Managers Promote Employee Sustainability? A Study on the Impact of Servant Leadership on Emotional Labor," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(14), pages 1-19, July.

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