On micro foundations of corporate sustainability

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


One of the realms where contradictions manifest in organizations is corporate sustainability, in which managers confront tensions between complex and interconnected concerns for the natural environment, social welfare, and economic prosperity. In this doctoral dissertation, I explore what explains why actors and organizations differ in their understanding of the tension between the three pillars – social, environmental, and economical – of corporate sustainability. This question is approached by considering the affective as well as discursive dynamics of dealing with corporate sustainability. This is a study about the lived experience of the challenges of corporate sustainability. The first essay characterizes the reconciliation of diverging goals in sustainability from a discursive point. The starting point of this analysis is that a central part of reconciliation takes place through language. The second essay focuses on the affective underpinning of living with tensions of sustainability. In particular, I argue that in the sustainability management context, self-regulation supports managers' capacity to accept and promote new environmental frames. In the third essay, I empirically analyze collective action taking and apply media text to study group-based affect regulation. Through these essays, I contribute to the understanding of the challenges that individuals face in terms of adapting and adjusting to new ways of considering corporate sustainability. By analyzing the working and living realities of various groups of actors, this study provides a holistic understanding of coping mechanisms in mobilizing responses to corporate sustainability demands. This study reveals the affective dimensions individuals face in their endeavors to take on, promote, and institutionalize new perspectives of looking at the phenomenon of corporate sustainability.
Translated title of the contributionOn micro foundations of corporate sustainability
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Granqvist, Nina, Supervising Professor
  • Vaara, Eero, Supervising Professor
Print ISBNs978-952-64-0380-9
Electronic ISBNs978-952-64-0381-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • corporate sustainability
  • language
  • cognition
  • institutional theory


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