G. (Gail) Whiteman

Full Professor
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Member ERIM
Field: Organisation
Affiliated since 2001

Gail Whiteman is a professor of business society management and holds the Sustainability and Climate Change chair at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM)

Professor Whiteman was a 2011 Global Finalist in the Aspen Institute’s high-profile ranking of Faculty Pioneers in sustainability. Her research aims to help organisations deal more effectively with sustainability challenges, an objective she established during her former career in the private sector.

Professor-Whiteman combines her role at RSM with that of part time Professor in-Residence at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

She is co-founder and Director of ERIM's Centre for Corporate Eco-Transformation , where she collaborates with multinational companies, to examine issues such as the strategic role of companies in their transition towards low carbon, sustainable cities; the impact of natural resource extraction on local sustainability; and the drivers of sustainable innovation.

Her work has been published in the top business and ecology journals including the Academy of Management Journal and Nature and she has over thirty-five academic peer-reviewed academic publications on sustainability. She sits on the editorial boards of several academic journals.

Her academic network spans many disciplines including the natural sciences. She is an associate member of the Resilience Alliance , a world-class, multidisciplinary research organisation comprised of scientists and practitioners that explore the dynamics and resilience of social-ecological systems.

She is also active in innovative business sustainability training and education and was the organiser of a high-profile event in 2011 – the Engaged Business Leaders’ Forum – in which H.R.H. Princess Irene of the Netherlands and H.R.H. Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme participated. Media coverage included articles in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Yahoo Finance, Greenbiz, the BBC, the Financial Times, and local Dutch press.

In held her inaugural address as professor in 2011 “Making sense of climate change: How to avoid the next big flood? Management lessons for the 21st century ". She argued for a fresh approach to management research, with greater attention paid to tipping points in key planetary boundary processes such as the urgence of the scale of change happening in the Arctic.

Following a 2010 trip to the Arctic Archipelago she is now involved in an initiative to establish networks between polar scientists and global leaders and is leading a project to evaluate the economic costs of lost climate services from a melting Arctic.

  • Kennedy, S.P. & Whiteman, G.M. (2015). A Place-based analysis of sustainable water management. In Sustainability, Society, Business Ethics, and Entrepreneurship. World Scientific Publishing.
  • Kennedy, S.P., Whiteman, G.M. & Williams, A. (2015). Sustainable Innovation at Interface: Workplace Pro-Environmental Behavior as a Collective Driver for Continuous Improvement. In The Psychology of Green Organizations. Oxford University Press.
  • Guthey, G., Whiteman, G.M. & Elmes, M. (2014). Sense-of-Place and Organizational Sustainability. Journal of Management Inquiry.
  • Whiteman, G.M. & De Jonge, Carien (2014). Chapter 26: Arne Naess. In J. Halin, T. Hernes, D. Hjorth & R. Holt (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Process Philosophy and Organization Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Kennedy, S.P. & Whiteman, G.M. (2014). Environmentalism and corporate sustainability. In Wiley Encyclopedia of Management, 3rd edition.
  • Flanagan, William & Whiteman, G.M. (2009). AIDS is Not a Business: A Study in Global Corporate Responsibility Securing Access to Low-cost HIV Medications. In S.J. Shapiro, M. Tadajewski & C.J. Shultz (Eds.), Macromarketing (pp. 65-75). London: Sage.
  • Whiteman, G.M. & Phillips, N (2008). Through the looking glass: The role of fictional and semi-fictional narrative in organizational research. In D. Barry & H. Hansen (Eds.), Sage Handbook of New and Emerging Approaches to Management and Organization (pp. 288-301). London: Sage.
  • Whiteman, G.M. (2007). Exploracao de Florestas e a Situacao dos Povos Indigenas: o exemplo problematico da empresa Samling, na Guina. In F. Bird & M. A. Griesse (Eds.), Responsibilidades Sociais (pp. 191-220). Sao Paolo: UNIMEP.
  • Flanagan, William & Whiteman, G.M. (2005). The multinational as minority investor: Corporate social responsibilities/opportunities? In W. Cragg (Ed.), Ethics Codes, Corporations & the Challenge of Globalization, (pp. 212-241). Cheltenham: Edward Edgar.
  • Voort, J.M. van der, Meijs, L.C.P.M. & Whiteman, G.M. (2005). Creating Actionable Knowledge:Practicing Service Learning in a Dutch Business Context. In C. Wankel & R. DeFillipi (Eds.), Educating Managers through Real World Projects (Vol. 4 in `Research in Management Education and Development'.) (pp. 149-180). Greenwich: Information Age Publishing.
  • Whiteman, G.M. (2004). Forestry, Gold Mining and Amerindians: The Troubling Example of Samling in Guyana. In F. Bird, S. Herman & eds. (Eds.), International business and the challenges of poverty in the developing world: case studies on global responsibilities and practices (pp. 181-205). Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Whiteman, G.M. (1999). Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK): A framework for sustainable business management. In Best Paper Proceedings Academy of Management. Academy of Management.

Editorial positions

  • Journal of Management Studies

    Editorial Board

Current courses

Open PhD Project in Value Based Organizing

Traditionally, management research takes the perspective of business and focuses on how conditions for business can be improved. Research conducted within the Value Based Organizing subprogram starts with the challenges that society and our natural environment face and focuses on how business, in partnership with other actors, can address these challenges. In other words, we help business to take responsibility for the context in which it operates. Research in our group focuses on alternative definitions of and approaches to business, including issues around climate change, reputation, business ethics, philanthropy, social enterprise and partnerships. The research methods we use vary from qualitative interview techniques to survey and laboratory research.

“Acting on unprecedented change” describes a series of interrelated projects that address the most current challenges that businesses face. Specifically, our social and natural environments are changing in unprecedented ways. Business contributes to some of these developments, such as climate change, growing inequality, and also alienation from the general public by losing track of the interests of broader society. Yet, society also changes in ways that are difficult to foresee for companies. Each project describes ways for companies to deal with these challenges and to contribute in such a way that changes work out for the best (or at least, are less damaging). A common theme underlying each project is that each seriously considers the possibility that the way companies do business -including how they relate to the context in which they operate- needs to be changed fundamentally and that small gestures are unlikely to be sufficient to help solve the large problems that society faces.

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Address

Visiting address

Office: Mandeville Building T11-54
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam

Postal address

Postbus 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Work in progress

Kennedy, S.P. & Whiteman, G.M. (2015). A Place-based analysis of sustainable water management. In Sustainability, Society, Business Ethics, and Entrepreneurship. World Scientific Publishing.
Kennedy, S.P., Whiteman, G.M. & Williams, A. (2015). Sustainable Innovation at Interface: Workplace Pro-Environmental Behavior as a Collective Driver for Continuous Improvement. In The Psychology of Green Organizations. Oxford University Press.

Latest publication

Kennedy, S.P. & Whiteman, G.M. (2015). A Place-based analysis of sustainable water management. In Sustainability, Society, Business Ethics, and Entrepreneurship. World Scientific Publishing.