Sustainable banking: identity. logics.liabilities
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date30/11/2021
This thesis examines the phenomenon of sustainable finance and banking. It explores how organisations simultaneously pursue the community development and the profitability goals, therefore, combining the behaviour of the economic and the ethical actor. It features the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), an international network of 62 financial institutions and 16 strategic partners operating globally. Drawing from the existing theories of the firm, this thesis discusses how the combination of the economic and the ethical goals creates identity plurality in sustainable banks. It further examines the associated liabilities of identity plurality and the ways they could be resolved by sustainable banks. The existing theories of the firm provided insufficient insights on the ways organisations experience and resolve the challenges of identity plurality. Current research contributes to the existing theories of the firm and helps synthesise the economic and the ethical perspectives on the role of the firm. Sustainable banks combine the community development and the banking identities at their core and, as a result, face competing identity demands. The identity plurality affects their organisational structures, processes and meanings. Findings from this study show that sustainable banks face regulatory, governance, stakeholders relations project assessment challenges due to identity plurality. Through a qualitative analysis of interviews, participant observations and documents, this study discovered that challenges of identity plurality experienced by sustainable banks result in two types of organisational liabilities: liabilities for multiple goals and liabilities to multiple principle stakeholders. Sustainable banks address liabilities for multiple goals through a combination of identity work tactics, namely critiquing, contextualising and intervening. Sustainable banks further approach their liabilities to multiple principle stakeholders through the relational identity orientation expressed in such behaviours as inclusion of affected communities, full incorporation of local needs, philanthropic inclusiveness, transparency and power balance among stakeholders, governmental commitments and collaborative hiring as well as socialisation. This thesis extends current theoretical understandings of identity plurality as a combination of the economic and the ethical goals within an organisation. It shows to which extent identity plurality is experienced by sustainable banks, what are the liabilities of organisational identity plurality and how sustainable banks resolve these liabilities. These findings contribute to earlier conceptualisations of the hybrid identity organisation and the multiple identities organisation and supports the development of the pluralistic identity organisation theory.