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School of Business | Department of Management Studies | MSc program in Management and International Business | 2015
Thesis number: 14565
Pursuing meaningfulness in life and work: Narratives of transition towards more sustainable lifestyle
Author: Saarinen, Anna
Title: Pursuing meaningfulness in life and work: Narratives of transition towards more sustainable lifestyle
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Management Studies
Academic subject: MSc program in Management and International Business
Index terms: johtaminen; management; kestävä kehitys; sustainable development; kulutus; consumption; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour; elämäntapa; way of life; identiteetti; identity; tarina; narrative
Pages: 81
Key terms: sustainable lifestyle, sustainable consumption, identity, narratives
Objectives The purpose of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of the process of transitioning towards more sustainable lifestyle. By combining the concepts of sustainable consumption, sustainable lifestyle and a processual notion of identity, this study aims to offer a broader understanding of the influences behind lifestyle change and the roles of work and social context in the transition towards more sustainable lifestyle, as well as possible difficulties involved in the process.

Methodology For the purposes of this study, a qualitative, narrative research method was adopted. Four narrative interviewees were held with Finnish young adults who have recently made changes in their consumption and lifestyle and are more sustainable as a result. The aim of the interviews was to collect narratives and partial life stories to understand when, why and how individuals made changes in their lifestyles.

Findings The findings of the study suggest that lifestyle change towards sustainability is a continuous process, triggered by changes in one's life, such as moving to another city or country. Becoming more sustainable in one's life is seen as a process of increasing awareness where changes in one area of consumption lead to more awareness and ultimately changes in other lifestyle areas. Furthermore, the findings strongly suggest that becoming more sustainable in one's life is linked to a larger shift in thinking and worldview, resulting in a search for meaningfulness in one's life and work. Furthermore, dispossession practices were found to be essential identity construction methods in shifting towards more sustainable lifestyles. By disassociating from their previous more unsustainable selves, social groups and societal norms, individuals made room for constructing new identities based on their values and their search for meaningfulness and personal development while "making the world a better place".
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