Article

Intergenerational Beneficence and the Success of Environmental Sustainability Initiatives in Organizational Contexts

Leigh Plunkett Tost and Kimberly A. Wade‐Benzoni

in The Oxford Handbook of Business and the Natural Environment

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199584451
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199584451.003.0010

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Intergenerational Beneficence and the Success of Environmental Sustainability Initiatives in Organizational Contexts

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This article explores how individuals psychologically experience dilemmas in which they face a tradeoff between their own self-interests in the present and the interests of future others. The psychological dynamics that impact individuals' inclinations to sacrifice their present self-interest to protect or promote the interests of future others is investigated. It also discusses the implications of this research for how organizations can promote environmental sustainability. It then evaluates how the independent effects of interpersonal and intertemporal distances in intergenerational contexts can combine to diminish intergenerational beneficence, and thus lead to intergenerational discounting. Intergenerational discounting represents a combined effect of intertemporal and social discounting and its consequences can escalate over time. The legacy motive is closely tied to the concept of generativity. Intergenerational decisions have considerable impact within organizations and society. The study of intergenerational decision-making presents critical insight into the ways that organizations achieve long-term environmental sustainability and viability.

Keywords: environmental sustainability; intergenerational beneficence; intergenerational discounting; organizations; interpersonal distance; intertemporal distance; society

Article.  7904 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business Ethics

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