Qualifying Sustainability : A Study of Firm-based Strategies.

Nogueira, Mafalda Cristina de Oliveira Pinto Coelho (2013) Qualifying Sustainability : A Study of Firm-based Strategies. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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The academic and practitioner-based literatures often invoke notions such as "corporate sustainability" or 'sustainable firms' without questioning the processes through which these labels are acquired and become firmly established. By focusing on qualification processes, this thesis challenges the usage of these taken-for-granted definitions, aimed at producing stable qualities. This study endorses a relational view of strategy to investigate how sustainability qualities emerge and how different actors influence, and/or are influenced by a company's ability to develop and establish sustainability qualifications. This thesis is positioned at the intersection of the three theoretical frameworks: 1) studies of qualities and qualifications, 2) studies on developing sustainability strategies and creating sustainable firms, and 3) studies that adopt a relational view of strategy (namely Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and the Industrial Networks (IN) approach). Drawing on a relational ontology, four case studies were analysed and within these 23 practices contributing to build up sustainability qualities were selected and studied in-depth. The resulting findings led to the development of a framework to investigate the establishment of firms' sustainability qualifications. This framework comprises four types of strategising processes: framing, valuing, enrolling and stabilising. By opening up the discussion from the qualification of goods in consumer markets to the qualification of firms in industrial settings, and by taking a strategic approach to understand qualification-requalification processes, this framework extends previous work developed on qualification processes. This study also adds to the IN approach and to the strategic management literatures by providing an empirical study that describes the relational nature of the processes through which a qualification strategy emerges and the role of non-humans in the processes of strategising. Finally, the thesis contributes to the ongoing debates within IN and the 'greening the business' literature on what constitutes value. It suggests a redirection of focus to analyse processes of valuing, rather than assuming a linear relationship between strategies and value creation. Key words: qualification of firms; sustainability; value and valuation; relational approaches to strategy.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2013.
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Deposited On:
02 May 2019 16:25
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:33