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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

S.M. Ramya

Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India

Examination of moral micro-foundations of corporate sustainability actions



Organizations are expected to improve their corporate sustainability (CS) actions to help nations meet the UN sustainable development goals in response to the climate crisis. Although the importance of corporate sustainability has been widely established in theory and practice, there is a paucity for organizational behavior investigations in the literature. Through this project, we will pioneer the multi-disciplinary investigation of the intra-personal moral conflicts experienced by both employees and managers and its effect on moral emotions and sustainability behaviors. Along with gaining more in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the causes and consequences of sustainability-related moral conflict, the study also proposes to evaluate interventions that can alleviate intrapersonal moral conflict and consequently improve sustainability actions in organizations. This study will integrate ethics into the body of knowledge of CS by building on moral licensing theory (Miller & Effron, 2010) and social cognitive theory of moral thought and action (Bandura, 1991). To bring in the generalizability of our findings, we plan to empirically verify the conceptual model through various methodologies (e.g., field surveys and experiments, lab experiments, and interviews) in various countries like India, Singapore, and United States. We believe that identifying micro-level mechanisms and effective interventions related to the moral conflict in the corporate sustainability domain can inform theory, practice, and policy on enhancing CS actions to curb the climate crisis.


Ms. S.M. Ramya is a doctoral candidate in Organizational Behavior area at the Department of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India. She did her masters in Environmental Engineering from NIT Trichy, India. Her areas of interest are at finding interventions to enhance environmentally responsible, sustainable decision making and climate action in organizations. She works on issues at the intersection of organization and natural environment and behavioral ethics. She has published in journals such as Management Decision, Social Responsibility Journal and Business and Society 360.

S.M. Ramya

S.M. Ramya