Legitimizing corporate (Un) sustainability : a case study of passive SMEs

Authors: Chassé, SoniaBoiral, Olivier
Abstract: The objective of this article is to explore how decision makers in small- and medium-sized enterprises explain their lack of commitment to sustainability through various justifications. These justifications are intended to rationalize and legitimize, through socially acceptable arguments, the absence of substantial actions in this area. A case study based on 33 interviews in nine Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises showed that managers rationalize their lack of commitment to sustainability in several different ways. These can be grouped into three main types of justifications: prioritization of economic survival, looking for a scapegoat, and denial and minimization (denial of negative impacts, minimization of sustainability issues, selfproclaimed sustainability). The study contributes to bridge the gap between the literatures on neutralization theory, resistance to institutional pressures, and corporate unsustainability. It also sheds further light on the reasons underlying the lack of commitment to sustainable development and how managers justify this to themselves and others.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 3 October 2016
Open Access Date: 13 April 2017
Document version: AM
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/13642
This document was published in: Organization and Environment, (2016)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1086026616672065
SAGE Publications
Alternative version: 10.1177/1086026616672065
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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