Organizational Identity and Integration of Sustainable Development: A Micro-level Study of Ethical Closure and Silence

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper explores the puzzle of how the sustainable development agenda is not effectively advanced by ‘sustainability professionals’ in organizations despite their organizations’ and their own expressed support to sustainable development. This is a theoretically under-explored phenomenon of importance for practice to understand the better micro-level processes for success or failure for business integration across all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers and practitioners have enthusiastically argued for the importance of discussion and critical dialogue to stimulate innovative integration of the 2030 aspirations into business strategies that challenge traditional business practices. Prior research has also provided valuable insights showing strong member support to organizations with a sustainability identity. However, our findings reveal how member support does not always serve to advance the sustainability agenda. Instead, our empirical study across 94 interviews with sustainability professionals demonstrate how member support ironically may silence rather than advance debate on sustainable development. We refer to this a ethical closure. We identify three categories of member responses to workplace sustainability identity claims: quiet devotion, silent tolerance and muted detachment. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications for sustainability development when organizational members keep silent rather than voice their opinions about the sustainability agenda.
This paper explores the puzzle of how the sustainable development agenda is not effectively advanced by ‘sustainability professionals’ in organizations despite their organizations’ and their own expressed support to sustainable development. This is a theoretically under-explored phenomenon of importance for practice to understand the better micro-level processes for success or failure for business integration across all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers and practitioners have enthusiastically argued for the importance of discussion and critical dialogue to stimulate innovative integration of the 2030 aspirations into business strategies that challenge traditional business practices. Prior research has also provided valuable insights showing strong member support to organizations with a sustainability identity. However, our findings reveal how member support does not always serve to advance the sustainability agenda. Instead, our empirical study across 94 interviews with sustainability professionals demonstrate how member support ironically may silence rather than advance debate on sustainable development. We refer to this a ethical closure. We identify three categories of member responses to workplace sustainability identity claims: quiet devotion, silent tolerance and muted detachment. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications for sustainability development when organizational members keep silent rather than voice their opinions about the sustainability agenda.

Conference

ConferenceThe 34th EGOS Colloquium 2018
Number34
LocationEstonian Business School/Tallinn University
CountryEstonia
CityTallinn
Period05/07/201807/07/2018
Internet address

Bibliographical note

CBS Library does not have access to the material

Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Identity claims
  • Public declarations
  • Ethical closure
  • Management

Cite this

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title = "Organizational Identity and Integration of Sustainable Development: A Micro-level Study of Ethical Closure and Silence",
abstract = "This paper explores the puzzle of how the sustainable development agenda is not effectively advanced by ‘sustainability professionals’ in organizations despite their organizations’ and their own expressed support to sustainable development. This is a theoretically under-explored phenomenon of importance for practice to understand the better micro-level processes for success or failure for business integration across all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers and practitioners have enthusiastically argued for the importance of discussion and critical dialogue to stimulate innovative integration of the 2030 aspirations into business strategies that challenge traditional business practices. Prior research has also provided valuable insights showing strong member support to organizations with a sustainability identity. However, our findings reveal how member support does not always serve to advance the sustainability agenda. Instead, our empirical study across 94 interviews with sustainability professionals demonstrate how member support ironically may silence rather than advance debate on sustainable development. We refer to this a ethical closure. We identify three categories of member responses to workplace sustainability identity claims: quiet devotion, silent tolerance and muted detachment. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications for sustainability development when organizational members keep silent rather than voice their opinions about the sustainability agenda.",
keywords = "Sustainability, Identity claims, Public declarations, Ethical closure, Management, Sustainability, Identity claims, Public declarations, Ethical closure, Management",
author = "Annemette Kj{\ae}rgaard and Mette Morsing",
note = "CBS Library does not have access to the material; null ; Conference date: 05-07-2018 Through 07-07-2018",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
url = "https://www.egosnet.org/2018_tallinn/general_theme",

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Organizational Identity and Integration of Sustainable Development : A Micro-level Study of Ethical Closure and Silence. / Kjærgaard, Annemette; Morsing, Mette.

2018. Paper presented at The 34th EGOS Colloquium 2018, Tallinn, Estonia.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

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T2 - A Micro-level Study of Ethical Closure and Silence

AU - Kjærgaard,Annemette

AU - Morsing,Mette

N1 - CBS Library does not have access to the material

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - This paper explores the puzzle of how the sustainable development agenda is not effectively advanced by ‘sustainability professionals’ in organizations despite their organizations’ and their own expressed support to sustainable development. This is a theoretically under-explored phenomenon of importance for practice to understand the better micro-level processes for success or failure for business integration across all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers and practitioners have enthusiastically argued for the importance of discussion and critical dialogue to stimulate innovative integration of the 2030 aspirations into business strategies that challenge traditional business practices. Prior research has also provided valuable insights showing strong member support to organizations with a sustainability identity. However, our findings reveal how member support does not always serve to advance the sustainability agenda. Instead, our empirical study across 94 interviews with sustainability professionals demonstrate how member support ironically may silence rather than advance debate on sustainable development. We refer to this a ethical closure. We identify three categories of member responses to workplace sustainability identity claims: quiet devotion, silent tolerance and muted detachment. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications for sustainability development when organizational members keep silent rather than voice their opinions about the sustainability agenda.

AB - This paper explores the puzzle of how the sustainable development agenda is not effectively advanced by ‘sustainability professionals’ in organizations despite their organizations’ and their own expressed support to sustainable development. This is a theoretically under-explored phenomenon of importance for practice to understand the better micro-level processes for success or failure for business integration across all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers and practitioners have enthusiastically argued for the importance of discussion and critical dialogue to stimulate innovative integration of the 2030 aspirations into business strategies that challenge traditional business practices. Prior research has also provided valuable insights showing strong member support to organizations with a sustainability identity. However, our findings reveal how member support does not always serve to advance the sustainability agenda. Instead, our empirical study across 94 interviews with sustainability professionals demonstrate how member support ironically may silence rather than advance debate on sustainable development. We refer to this a ethical closure. We identify three categories of member responses to workplace sustainability identity claims: quiet devotion, silent tolerance and muted detachment. We discuss the theoretical and managerial implications for sustainability development when organizational members keep silent rather than voice their opinions about the sustainability agenda.

KW - Sustainability

KW - Identity claims

KW - Public declarations

KW - Ethical closure

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KW - Sustainability

KW - Identity claims

KW - Public declarations

KW - Ethical closure

KW - Management

M3 - Paper

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