A reflection on Business, Environment and Sustainability

Written by Robin Spurr

Pasi Heikurinen’s questions over technological innovation providing sustainability solutions (2016) made me think. Previous messages from study/experience hold technology as the solution to society’s troubles; energy, poverty, and climate change (Lomborg, 2001). Optimistically, I still follow the technocentric point of view, the converse not offering feasible solutions to the problems. However, Heikurinen’s reasoning is valid; there is danger of technology dependence, resource scarcity; it is unsustainable (Heikurinen, 2016). Further analysis is needed to find degrowth solutions.

This highlights the power of one person questioning ideologies (Lewin 1951). This links to my favourite analysis; the organisational change simulation. Despite being CEO; a key stakeholder which I assumed would have power, legitimacy and urgency to create change (Mitchell et al 1997), I failed to create sustainable environmental shift. The blog gave time to cross-analyse theory why.

Several factors about organisational change were underlined to me. How important context was e.g. ‘High’ vs ‘low- urgency’ scenario. I learnt the hard way that in this context, transformational reorientation is too much (Nadler et al 1989). Establishing a sense of urgency appropriate to the climate or creating a coalition are vital (Kotter,2007). Incremental approaches work better; particularly considering Climate change sceptics (Stead and Stead 2008). The recognition of relationships within the business is essential (Harris and Crane, 2002). Running the simulation, before analysis with the blog, gave theory context.

The blog was incredibly useful to voice opinions around business and sustainability, and provided the framework to have them critiqued.  This has given me a better grasp of theory and realities of sustainable business.

 

References

Harris LC & Crane A, 2002. The greening of organizational culture. Journal of Organizational. Change Management, Vol. 15 Iss 3 pp. 214 – 234.

Heikkurinen, P. 2016. Degrowth by means of technology? A treatise for an ethos of releasement.Journal of Cleaner Production

Kotter, J. P. 2007. Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review. 85(1). pp.96-103.

Lewin, K. 1947. Frontiers in Group Dynamics. Human Relations, 1(2), pp.143-153.Mitchell et al 1997

Lomborg. 2001. The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World .Cambridge University Press IBSN; 0-521-01068-3

Mitchell, R., Agle, B., & Wood, D. 1997. Toward a Theory of Stakeholder Identification and Salience: Defining the Principle of Who and What Really Counts. The Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853-886. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/259247

Nadler DA & Tushman ML. 1989 Organisational Frame Bending: Principles for Managing Reorientation.The Academy of Management. Vol.111, No3. Pp194-204

Schmidt J. 2013. Sentience and Irrationality Necessities for a Member of Society.Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University March 11, 2013

Stead, J. and Stead, W. 2008. Sustainable strategic management: an evolutionary perspective. International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management, 1(1), p.62.