Johtamisen yksikkö, 2019
Johtaminen ja organisaatiot
Master's Degree Programme in International Business
Due to the rising impact of sustainability on business life, the drivers behind this trend have captured the interest of researchers. However, most studies focus on the economic drivers, whilst a change of mindset is promoted by several authors. This change of mindset evolving from inner values seems to play a crucial role for businesses. Especially the growing trend of sustainable start-ups, which have sustainability as the core of the business, have recently emerged. Research regarding spirituality and its influence on corporate sustainability has been limited and only a few conceptual studies have been done. With the new and emerging trend of sustainability among start-ups, the following research question will be presented: “What inner values drive decision makers of sustainable start-ups?”.
The empirical research was conducted through qualitative semi-structured interviews. In total seven interviews were held from five start-ups, who have a sustainable idea as core of their business, founded and headquartered in Finland and Germany. The interviewees were decision-makers within their companies, typically founders, CEOs, CFOs and marketing managers. The objective of the interviews was to examine, which inner values drive the decision makers towards sustainability. Furthermore, whether specific values/aspects of spirituality can be connected to a specific dimension of sustainability.
Based on the interviews and the academic literature, it seems that personal inner values play an increasing role for start-up founders and decision makers to base the business on sustainability. It can be suggested that values, such as respect, integrity, trust and responsibility drive sustainability on all dimensions. Furthermore, sense of community and the aim of social equity drive sustainability especially on social level, whilst the aim to create a better world drives environmental sustainability. Moreover, spiritual aspects, such as spiritual intelligence and spiritual leadership could be identified as drivers for corporate sustainability. Lastly, the case companies emphasized the importance of meaning and purpose within their work. Generally, it seems that personal spirituality, in the means of personal inner values, can drive sustainable business on several levels.
Sustainability, Spirituality, Motivation, Management