Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 735–751 | Cite as

A Cognitive Elaboration Model of Sustainability Decision Making: Investigating Financial Managers’ Orientation Toward Environmental Issues

Article

Abstract

This empirical paper examines individual-level cognitive factors associated with developing an orientation to sustainable development issues among a population of business practitioners from France. Across two studies, we survey 180 financial managers and 83 finance students, as well as 144 managers from other business disciplines and 117 non-finance business students. We consider ability and motivation variables integrated and adapted into a cognitive elaboration model for sustainable decision making. Specifically, we examine the degree of influence of two factors on the ethical sensitivity to sustainability: the moral maturity of the individual, and the perceived moral intensity of a sustainability issue. Our investigation offers insights into how financial managers perceive the importance of sustainability for corporate strategy.

Keywords

Chief financial officers Cognitive moral development Corporate environmental responsibility Defining issues test 2 Ethical decision making Person–situation interactionist perspective 

List of Abbreviations

ANOVA

Analysis of variance

CEM

Cognitive elaboration model

CFO

Chief financial officer

CIMA

Chartered institute of management accountants

CSR

Corporate social responsibility

DIT

Defining issues test

EA

Environmental attitudes

EMBA

Executive Master of Business Administration

ESOMAR

European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research

MBA

Master of Business Administration

NEP

New environmental paradigm

NRE

Nouvelles Régulations Economiques (New economical regulations)

PRESOR

Perceived role of ethics and social responsibility

PSI

Person–situation interactionist

UNEP

United Nations Environment Programme

WBCSD

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEREFIGE-ICN Business School, Nancy-MetzNancyFrance
  2. 2.Palumbo-Donahue Schools of Business, Duquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.CEREFIGE-ICN Business SchoolNancy-MetzFrance

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