Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kerul Kassel completes dissertation in the School of Human and Organizational Development

Social Value Orientation And Its Relation To Sustainability Practices In Corporate America -- Kerul Kassel

For the last decade-plus, Kerul has been owner of New Leaf Systems, an executive self-leadership coaching business ( or She is segueing into adjunct teaching at the intersection of business and sustainability (teaching a course in the fall for Fielding's new Leadership for Sustainability Certificate Program). She is also a LEED Green Associate.

The focus of this research study is the relationship between the value orientations of U.S.- based Fortune 1000 CEOs and their organizational sustainability practices (OSP) using data collected in surveys. Data on environmental concerns, awareness of consequences, social value orientations, CEO perspectives on sustainability initiatives, and OSP were used to explore the salience of such factors in the diffusion of sustainability practices in industry. The theoretical frameworks of Stern and Dietz’s value-belief-norm theory and Schwartz’s social value orientation were employed, and an instrument created by Hansla, Gamble, Juliusson and Gärling, which assesses self-oriented, other-human-oriented, and biospherically-oriented preferences was utilized. The data from this instrument were compared with CEO participants' open-ended answers to questions, including personal views of corporate sustainability initiatives, reasons for pursuing such efforts, alignment of personal values with organizational identity and sustainability performance, and comparison to other popular corporate programs to generate qualitative and contextual information. Finally, these data sets were then analyzed against each CEO's OSP, as measured against the Global Reporting Initiative’s G3 performance indicators. Although value orientations as measured by the instrument did not bear a significant relationship to OSP, the qualitative data on CEO perspectives do offer notable patterns. Those CEOs in firms with strong OSP incorporated more environmental, moral, and positive economic reasoning to their answers, whereas CEOs in firms with weaker OSP more often cited negative economic reasoning and social pressure as motivation for OSP.

Key Words:
Corporate Sustainability Practices, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Value Orientation, Fortune 1000

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