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Probing alignment of personal and organisational values for sustainability: An assessment of barrett's organisational consciousness model

Klapper, R and Berg, L and Upham, P (2020) Probing alignment of personal and organisational values for sustainability: An assessment of barrett's organisational consciousness model. Sustainability, 12 (18). ISSN 2071-1050

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Abstract

© 2020 by the authors. To what extent are the values of employees and employers aligned in the context of sustainability and how might this be assessed? These are the main research questions in a case study involving a Swedish Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) with ambitions to become more 'sustainable'. The wider context of the paper is the alignment of managerial and employee values for organisational sustainability. Specifically, the study applies and assesses Barrett's concept of Organisational Consciousness as a level-based approach to sustainability values, which we argue is based on an integration of Maslow's hierarchy of needs andWilber's Integral metatheory. Quantifying the incidence of references to various values elicited in interviews, the study demonstrates: the limited salience of Barrett's themes ('attributes') for employees; the divergent perspectives in participants' personal and organisational lives. While normatively affirming Barrett's overall approach, we observe that most organisations are likely to be a considerable distance from Barrett's higher levels. How one interprets this is debatable: it may be concluded that Barrett's framework is overambitious or that organisations need to: (i) broaden their understanding of sustainability and (ii) nurture alignment between personal and organisational values.

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