On micro foundations of corporate sustainability

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School of Business | Doctoral thesis (article-based)
Degree programme
93 + app. 145
Aalto University publication series DOCTORAL DISSERTATIONS, 68/2021
One of the realms where contradictions manifest in organizations is corporate sustainability, in which managers confront tensions between complex and interconnected concerns for the natural environment, social welfare, and economic prosperity. In this doctoral dissertation, I explore what explains why actors and organizations differ in their understanding of the tension between the three pillars – social, environmental, and economical – of corporate sustainability. This question is approached by considering the affective as well as discursive dynamics of dealing with corporate sustainability. This is a study about the lived experience of the challenges of corporate sustainability. The first essay characterizes the reconciliation of diverging goals in sustainability from a discursive point. The starting point of this analysis is that a central part of reconciliation takes place through language. The second essay focuses on the affective underpinning of living with tensions of sustainability. In particular, I argue that in the sustainability management context, self-regulation supports managers' capacity to accept and promote new environmental frames. In the third essay, I empirically analyze collective action taking and apply media text to study group-based affect regulation. Through these essays, I contribute to the understanding of the challenges that individuals face in terms of adapting and adjusting to new ways of considering corporate sustainability. By analyzing the working and living realities of various groups of actors, this study provides a holistic understanding of coping mechanisms in mobilizing responses to corporate sustainability demands. This study reveals the affective dimensions individuals face in their endeavors to take on, promote, and institutionalize new perspectives of looking at the phenomenon of corporate sustainability.
Supervising professor
Granqvist, Nina, Assoc. Prof., Aalto University, Department of Management Studies, Finland; Vaara, Eero, Prof., Oxford University, UK
corporate sustainability, language, cognition, institutional theory
Other note
  • [Publication 1]: Luna Ansari (unpublished essay). On Reconciliation Strategies of Sustainability Goals.
  • [Publication 2]: Luna Ansari and Johanna Moisander (unpublished essay). Disrupting the notion of business-as-usual: emotion regulation for creating social change.
  • [Publication 3]: Luna Ansari (unpublished essay). Leading Change for Sustainability: a Group-based Emotion Regulation approach to Institutional Work.