Theme A: Corporate Sustainability

Business organizations are now amongst the most dominant and powerful social entities on Earth and are essential in efforts towards sustainable socio-ecological systems. Corporate sustainability calls for companies to be managed in ways that help society to live within our Planetary Boundaries and a socially just space to prosper.

Corporate sustainability requires firms to generate solutions that restore and regenerate ecological and social capital rather than degrading these foundations of life, and make decisions for both the short and long term time horizons. This necessitates companies put creating societal value at the core of their business and to think holistically about how they are embedded within socio-ecological systems. Firms need to understand sustainability challenges such as climate change and wealth inequality, identify their current contribution and form deliberate goals and strategies for positive social, ecological and economic value creation.

Our research considers corporate sustainability through theoretical lenses such as systems thinking, resilience thinking and process theory. Our work seeks to deepen our understanding of corporate sustainability though a relational understanding of organizations within socio-ecological systems, and offers insight to how companies may implement it in practice.

Key Publications

  • Kennedy, S. (2020) It's time to start tackling grand challenges systemically. RSM Discovery - Management Knowledge, 39.
  • Williams, A., Whiteman, G., and Kennedy, S. (2019). Cross-Scale Systemic Resilience: Implications for Organization Studies. Business & Society.
  • Williams, A. (2018, oktober 12). Make Our Planet Great Again: a Systems Perspective of Corporate Sustainability. EUR Prom./coprom.: prof.dr. G.M. Whiteman & dr. S.P. Kennedy.
  • Williams, A., Kennedy, S., Philipp, F., and Whiteman, G. (2017) Systems thinking: A review of sustainability management research. Journal of Cleaner Production, 148, 866-881.
  • Whiteman, G. and Kennedy, S. (2016) Sustainability as process. In: Langley, A. and Tsoukas, H. (eds) Sage Handbook of Process Organization Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
  • Kennedy, S. and Whiteman, G. (2014) Environmentalism and corporate sustainability. Wiley Encyclopedia of Management, 3rd edition.