Dogmatic, Instrumental and Paradoxical Frames: A Pragmatic Research Framework for Studying Organizational Sustainability

Tulin Dzhengiz*, Kai Hockerts

*Corresponding author for this work

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Our purpose is to develop a comprehensive categorization of organizational sustainability frames. This is necessary because a unified approach that considers the organizational sustainability frames of different organizations (FPOs, NPOs and hybrids) is absent in the extant research. Towards this end, we undertake an integrative review of 158 articles and identify seven frames based on three objective functions: maximization of economic capital, maintaining natural capital and creating social impact. Of the seven, three are dogmatic, each accepting only one objective function as legitimate: economic, natural and social capital; three are instrumental, with one objective function as the ultimate goal and the others as necessary means; and the last one is paradoxical, where tensions between objective functions are accommodated simultaneously rather than eliminated. We contribute to the literature by introducing the ‘dogmatic frame’ category to the ongoing conversation on organizational sustainability frames. We also contribute by demonstrating that instrumental frames exist not only at for-profit organizations but also at non-profits and hybrid organizations. Consequently, we link the conversation in these areas with that of organizational sustainability frames. Finally, we problematize the growing attention on the paradoxical frame by discussing its suitability in different contexts and situations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)501-534
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Published online: 25 January 2022.

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