On How Business Students’ Personal Values and Sustainability Conceptions Impact Their Sustainability Management Orientation: Evidence from Germany, Indonesia and the USA
A. Brieger, Steven
H. Jacob, Gabriel
W. Utami, Christina
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Purpose – This paper aims to develop and empirically test a framework on how personal values and sustainability conceptions affect students’ sustainability management orientation (SMO). An understanding of this connection gives insight into the question whether students are likely to engage in sustainable business practices in their future work. Design/methodology/approach – A cross-sectional and comparative research design is used, using survey data of business students from Germany, Indonesia and the USA (N = 475). The proposed mediation models are tested by bootstrap procedures using Hayes’s (2013) PROCESS macro for SPSS. Research limitations/implications – Implications arise for researchers to investigate the engagement of future managers with different personal value types in sustainability practices and to gain insights into values and sustainability conceptions as a learning outcome. Limitations of this research – for instance, arising from potential common method bias – are discussed. Practical implications – The findings point to the need to (re-)design appointment processes for management positions in a way that allows taking into account individuals’ personal values and sustainability conceptions. This research may also help firms and higher education institutions to empower their workforce/students to develop more integrated perspectives on sustainability challenges as well as teaching methods that address students’ effective learning outcomes, e.g. their values. Originality/value – The paper offers a new framework and a cross-country perspective on psychological antecedents of individuals’ SMO as an important prerequisite for responsible behavior in the business context. Findings – Self-transcendence values translate into more nuanced sustainability conceptions since individuals with self-transcendence values are more likely to conceptualize sustainability beyond their own (narrow) self-interests. In turn, the stronger individuals’ sustainability conceptions, the higher the likelihood that they prefer sustainable management practices in their future professional working field.