Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Business

Supervisor

Pratima (Tima) Bansal

Abstract

In this dissertation, I investigate how place and space guide organizations towards sustainable development. The current paradigm for business organizing seeks economic efficiency, whereas a sustainable development paradigm requires businesses to accommodate the ecological, social, and economic principles between the local and global. Yet, as organizations are increasingly globalizing and virtualizing, they are becoming increasingly placeless. The loss of local connection to place is one of the primary reasons sustainable development is so elusive.

I am motivated to understand better organizations' role between the local and global on sustainable development. To answer the question, I collected qualitative data through conducting ethnography at LuxuryYak,[1] a place-based Tibetan luxury enterprise. I developed three essays that collectively explored the mechanisms through which organizations could detect and address sustainable development issues. The first two essays (Essays #1 and #2) are empirical papers grounded in the data, providing insights on how locally embedded organizations can detect and address large-scale global sustainable development issues. Inspired by the empirical phenomenon, Essay #3 is a conceptual piece that focuses on elaborating the role of multinational enterprises on sustainable development between the local and global.

The essays contribute to the literature on organizational attention, sense of place and sustainable development, and international business research on location and country specific resources. I also made an empirical contribution by studying an organization in a Tibetan nomadic village to provide new ways of thinking about business research on sustainability.

[1] All names of villages, organizations and individuals in this dissertation are pseudonyms.

Summary for Lay Audience

Today we face unprecedented challenges to global sustainable development. Some major threats to survival include climate change, biodiversity loss, food security, and social inequality. For sustainable development, peoples’ needs must be met not just within and across time, but also within and across local and global spaces. In this dissertation, I ask: In a globalizing world, how can organizations detect and address sustainable development issues between the local and global? To understand that, I conduct ethnography with LuxuryYak, one sustainable luxury enterprise embedded in a Tibetan nomadic village. The organization has developed unique strategies to foster economic prosperity while preserving local ecological and social well-being. I developed three essays that collectively offer insights on the mechanisms of space and place that guide or limit organizations’ actions in addressing sustainable development issues. The findings contribute to the literature on organizational attention, sense of place and sustainable development, and international business research on locational advantages. The three essays in the dissertation also provide practical implications for organizations to contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future for organizations and societies.

Available for download on Thursday, August 31, 2023

Share

COinS