SUSTAINABILITY AND PROFIT: Micropath Decision Analysis

Florian Lottermoser


Sustainable decisions typically combine an orientation towards sustainability with personal benefits or corporate profit interests. Beyond these two driving forces, sustainable decisions are institutionalised as a path dependent routine. This article analyses from the perspective of the micropath how a sustainable decision routine is stabilised or destabilised. The micropath constitutes a further advancement of the concept of path dependence, which we transfer from the organisational to the individual level. The article establishes that sustainable decisions – by members of an organisation, e.g. corporate managers, as well as by consumers – rest on a micropath dependent process of institutionalisation, which at times proceeds detached from sustainability goals and profit interests. At the same time, the process of institutionalisation can yield new resistance that can impede or even reverse sustainable developments. Obstacles on the road to sustainability are thus not limited to the effectiveness of sustainable solutions, which is subjectively perceived as insufficient, or their lack of profitability, but are rather a consequence of path dependent interaction effects in the sustainability process itself.

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@ 2012 - PPGS - Revista do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Sociologia da UFPE.

ISSN Impresso 1415-000X

ISSN Eletrônico 2317-5427