Towards a value-based theory of sustainability framing

Loskutova, Tetyana
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The goal of this research was to develop a comprehensive theoretical perspective on values and framing of sustainability in the context of strategic transformation in an organisational field. This perspective aimed to address the gap in understanding of the role of values within and across framing levels in the sustainability discourse. The goal of this research was accomplished in two stages. Firstly, a conceptual review of the previous research was used to develop an initial model of the valuebased framing of sustainability. Secondly, a case study based on framing analysis was conducted to verify the model. To accommodate the diversity of framing sources, a framing analysis methodology was developed based on the previous methodologies of value elicitation and framing research. The results confirmed the usefulness of the framing analysis in understanding the meaning construction and the outcomes of change, conflict, or resistance to change in strategic transformation. Additional insights from the empirical case revealed both value-framing divergence and convergence and the influence of the roles of frame actors in such processes. The framing analysis also indicated that some values might be associated with silencing sensemaking. The original contribution is three-fold. Firstly, an integrated model was developed based on the conceptual synthesis and the case study. The model differentiates sensemaking, sensegiving, and silencing sensemaking as sub-processes within the framing mechanism of sustainability transformation. The model clarifies the role of values as inputs, outputs, and strategic devices. The model outlines the processes of value-framing divergence and convergence. This model forms the foundation for the value-based theory of sustainability framing. Secondly, a new approach to framing analysis was developed that facilitates analysis of diverse communication styles in a comparable way. Thirdly, this research resulted in the development of an agenda for the advancement of the value-based theory.
A thesis submitted to the faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in fulfilment of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, January 2018
Loskutova, Tetyana (2017) Towards a value-based theory of sustainability framing, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>