Organizational hypocrisy in business schools with sustainability commitments: the drivers of talk-action inconsistency

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Business schools are criticized for not walking-the-talk given their sustainability rhetoric and the expectation they educate future managers to act responsibly, balancing economic aims with the social and environmental impacts of business operations. While hypocrisy has long been part of the debate, few studies have systematically analysed organizational hypocrisy in business schools which have made commitments to deliver sustainable management education. We address this gap by studying the extent of sustainability teaching or ‘action’ in MBA programs at UK business schools with sustainability ‘talk’ and strategic ‘decisions’ to implement sustainability. We contribute to organizational hypocrisy theory by developing a framework of organizational and lower-level factors which drive inadvertent organizational hypocrisy. Using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) we examine interviews with 23 MBA directors to understand how these factors, in combination, explain an inadvertent kind of organizational hypocrisy. Our results emphasise the importance of sustainability capability in delivering on sustainability commitments.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date9 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Sep 2019


  • organized hypocrisy
  • sustainability
  • business schools
  • Qualitative comparative analysis

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