Acting on unprecedented change.
Traditionally, management research takes the perspective of business and focuses on how conditions for business can be improved. Research conducted by the members of the Department of Business-Society Management starts with the challenges that society and our natural environment face and focuses on how business, in partnership with other actors and organisations, can address these challenges. In other words, we help business to take responsibility for the context in which it operates. This is important because our social and natural environments are changing in unprecedented ways. Business contributes to some of these developments, such as climate change, growing inequality, global displacement 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 and other organisational actors alike.
The research conducted by the members of the value based organising programme focuses on a variety of topics — all directly relevant to business acting upon unprecedented change. A common theme underlying all of this research is that it 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.
Topics include alternative definitions of and approaches to business, including issues around climate change, corporate communication, sense-making processes in the context of sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy, new business-society strategies, alternative organisation forms such as social enterprises and partnerships, alternative governance regimes such as commons, and aligning corporate value propositions with societal issues and social innovation in times of grand challenges and wicked problems. Due to the diversity in research topics, the research methods we use vary widely, from qualitative techniques to survey and laboratory research.