Corporate environmentalism and top management identity negotiation
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Purpose - The aim of this paper is to examine the narratives of acceptance and resistance to the introduction of corporate environmentalism. Despite recognition that managers and senior executives play a primary role in corporate environmentalism, relatively few researchers have examined how top management supports, accepts, negotiates, disregards, or rejects the implementation of corporate environmentalism within their organization. By considering how members of a top management team reflect on corporate environmentalism the aim is to examine potential identity management conflicts that arise during the implementation of environmentally sustainable initiatives within organizations. Design/methodology/approach - A qualitative approach was adopted to address the research aims. By taking this approach the paper examines the lived experience of the participants as they internalized corporate environmentalism as part of their identity and as part of the organizational identity. Data collection involved 15 semi-structured interviews with senior executives and board members of a large Australian hospital. Findings - Based on an in-depth thematic analysis of interview transcripts, it was found that individuals attributed a dominant discourse to corporate environmentalism based on their lived experience of organizational change for sustainability. Six dominant discourses were identified. Three were resistant to corporate environmentalism: the pragmatist, the traditionalist, and the observer; and three were supportive of corporate environmentalism: the technocentrist, holist, and ecopreneur. Originality/value - The findings demonstrate that although top management operated in and experienced the same organizational context, the narratives and identities they constructed in relation to sustainability varied widely. These findings emphasize the challenges inherent in developing an organizational identity that incorporates sustainability principles and the need for change management strategies to appeal to the diverse values and priorities of organizational managers and executives.
Journal of Organizational Change Management
Copyright 2012 Emerald. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
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