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National cultural values, sustainability beliefs, and organizational initiatives

Jasmine Tata (Quinlan School of Business, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA)
Sameer Prasad (Department of Management, College of Business & Economics, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI, USA)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Article publication date: 5 May 2015



Organizations are implementing sustainability initiatives in different countries with varied socio-cultural systems. The literature on sustainability, however, does not present a clear picture of how national culture can influence interpretations of the meaning of sustainability and how these differences in interpretation can result in different sustainability practices. The purpose of this paper is to build upon the current literature by identifying mechanisms (i.e. sustainability beliefs and perceptions) that mediate the relationship between national cultural values and organizational sustainability initiatives.


The authors examine the literature on culture and sustainability practices, and develop a conceptual model that identifies how cultural values influence the sustainability initiatives of organizations. Several propositions are identified that specify relationships among the constructs, and guidelines are provided for testing the model in future research.


The model posits that national culture influences sustainability beliefs and perceptions, which in turn influence the quantity and scope of sustainability initiatives. The relationship between sustainability beliefs and organizational sustainability initiatives is moderated by sustainability orientation and organizational capacity.


The model can help researchers and practitioners better understand the meaning of sustainability in the context of international business by identifying the mechanisms that explain the link between culture and sustainability. It can also help researchers generate hypotheses for future research. Finally, the model can guide multinational corporations attempting to drive sustainability programs through their subsidiaries as well as international developmental agencies trying to develop programs in partnership with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs).



Tata, J. and Prasad, S. (2015), "National cultural values, sustainability beliefs, and organizational initiatives", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 278-296.



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