University of Twente Student Theses


A case study on how change towards sustainability is produced in organizational narratives

Beek, P.G. ter (2021) A case study on how change towards sustainability is produced in organizational narratives.

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Abstract:Businesses are increasingly putting in efforts to become sustainable. To become sustainable, a transformation in the organizational identity is needed in which sustainability becomes a fundamental, indispensable part. Organizational identities can develop trough organizational narratives because narratives help organizational members to accept future changes and thus facilitate change. So, when companies want to become more sustainable and get an aligned sustainable organizational identity, organizational sustainability narratives might be the solution. That is why this study aims to find answers to the following research question: “How is change towards sustainability produced in organizational narratives?”’ A case study approach has been adopted on a Dutch international manufacturer of household goods. The last decade sustainability has become of bigger importance to the company and became part of their strategy. The results show four pillars that the organizational sustainability narrative rests on, namely: (a) external evidence, (b) internal evidence, (c) intrinsic motivational talk, (d) concrete sustainability action. Secondly, the change towards a more sustainability-oriented organization was produced through three main narrative tactics: harnessing key identity elements for a new purpose, authoring a ‘higher’ organizational purpose, and making it tangible. This study contributes to the studies of organizational narratives, sustainability in organizations and organizational identity.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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