Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Cheryl Lentz


Petroleum industries in the U.S. attract increased scrutiny from governmental bodies, businesses, and the civil society for their lack of sustainability practices, such as air emissions control, the use of cleaner fuels, and water pollution mitigation. Although the short-term cost of implementing these practices may be high as stated by a sample of the industry's leaders, long-term benefits include lower business costs and a reduction of the adverse impacts on society, the environment, and the economy. This multiple-case study highlighted the practices of several petroleum industry leaders who demonstrated an exception to these practices-who have been clear thought leaders in the delivery of both environmental sustainability and profitability. Data collection included in-depth interviews with 16 purposively selected petroleum business participants supplemented by a review of archival records containing annual sustainability reports. The participants were experts who practiced sustainability as part of their work-related activities. Data saturation occurred when no new data or patterns emerged. Methodological triangulation occurred as evidenced by the convergence of data from the different sources. Yin's 5-step analysis, which guided the coding process, yielded 3 main themes: environmental air quality, fuel, and water. These themes aligned with practices identified from the review of 20 archival reports across a 5-year period. Key practices identified from the archival records included flaring reduction, natural gas utilization, and water re-cycling. The implications for positive social change include the potential for the preservation of resources for present and future generations when all companies operating in the petroleum industry embrace sustainability.