Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 145, Issue 4, pp 725–737 | Cite as

Corporate Sustainability: Toward a Theoretical Integration of Catholic Social Teaching and the Natural-Resource-Based View of the Firm

  • Horacio E. Rousseau


Even though management scholars have offered several views on the process of corporate sustainability, these efforts have focused mainly on the technical aspects of sustainability while omitting the fundamental role played by individual moral competences. Therefore, previous work offers an incomplete and somewhat reductionist view of corporate sustainability. In this article, we develop a holistic framework of corporate sustainability in which both the moral and technical aspects of sustainability are considered. We do so by integrating the ethical, normative perspective of the Catholic social teaching (CST) with the competitive view of the natural resource-based view. This framework highlights the importance of CST principles and ideas in developing executive moral competences such as moral sensitivity and awareness, and moral cognition and motivation. Moral competences, in turn, influence the organizational selection of environmental strategies, giving leaders the intrinsic motivation to promote both a longer-term stance on corporate sustainability efforts and a relentless search for greener business models. Such strategies move the firm closer towards achieving environmental sustainability. Hence, by bridging the individual, normative-ethical with the organizational, implementational levels of corporate sustainability, our framework provides a more realistic, coherent, and complete perspective on the complex process of achieving corporate sustainability.


Corporate sustainability Catholic social teaching Natural resource-based view Moral competences Environmental challenges Ecology Crisis 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General Management, IESE Business SchoolUniversity of NavarraBarcelonaSpain

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