Corporate environmentalism and top management identity negotiation

Cherrier, Helene, Russell, Sally V. and Fielding, Kelly (2012) Corporate environmentalism and top management identity negotiation. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 25 4: 518-534. doi:10.1108/09534811211239209

Author Cherrier, Helene
Russell, Sally V.
Fielding, Kelly
Title Corporate environmentalism and top management identity negotiation
Journal name Journal of Organizational Change Management   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0953-4814
Publication date 2012-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/09534811211239209
Volume 25
Issue 4
Start page 518
End page 534
Total pages 17
Place of publication Bingley, W Yorks, United Kingdom
Publisher Emerald
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
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.
Keyword Corporate environmentalism
Top management
Organizational change
Sustainable development
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Institute for Social Science Research - Publications
Official 2013 Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 9 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 14 Oct 2012, 00:07:06 EST by System User on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management