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A cultural development strategy for a firm wishing to maximise the sustainability behaviour of its workforce

Jones, David Raymond (1998) A cultural development strategy for a firm wishing to maximise the sustainability behaviour of its workforce. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    This research builds a hypothesis and a set of cultural principles upon which a firm
    needs to act if it wishes to move towards sustainability. It is assumed in this research
    that a company wishing to move towards sustainability needs to proactively address
    its long-term, environmental, social and financial responsibilities. As these
    responsibilities are continually changing over time, this research assumes that a firm
    needs to build a capability to respond. In order to achieve this a firm needs to
    maximise the behaviour and commitment towards sustainability of all its workers.

    The cultural principles form the basis for choosing the most appropriate organisational
    structure, management style, reward systems etc. to move a firm towards

    The research initially develops these principles by identifying several relevant topic
    areas through a set of expert four-day workshops. It then explores empirical case
    study research findings from three U.K. best-practice firms; The Body Shop
    International plc, Traidcraft plc and Suma Wholefoods. These firms are defined as
    best-practice as they each are leading innovators within either the environmental
    protection or social equity fields. They each also share a top-management
    commitment to moving towards sustainability.
    The emergent hypothesis argues against using the 'unitarist' (strong) cultural, topdown
    approach which represents the most popular strategy of the 1980's culture
    writers. The three cultural principles which typify this unitarist approach are identified
    as leadership (values and financial), mission support and worker accountability.
    Similarly, the hypothesis also argues against the 'pluralist' cultural, bottom-up
    approach. The three cultural principles which typify this pluralist apporach are
    identified as participation, personal support and management accountability. Instead,
    the research hypothesis argues that a business should adopt an optimal combination of
    both unitarist and pluralist principles. This optimal combination is contingent, at any
    point in time, upon the firm's historical cultural approach, the extent of diversity of
    values and opinions amongst workers and the extent of top management commitment
    towards sustainability.

    In order to help a firm move towards its optimal unitarist-pluralist mix, two further
    overarching principles are also identified; worker involvement and mutual trust. It is
    proposed that these principles will be realised fully only when a firm's optimal mix is

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Thesis advisorWelford, Richard
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Sustainable development, Unitarism, Management
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
    Schools: The Business School
    Depositing User: Graham Stone
    Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2009 16:24
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:38


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