1st Edition

Leadership for Sustainability An Action Research Approach

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Those who advocate moving towards sustainability debate how change can be achieved. This book focuses on what it means to take up leadership for sustainability, from a variety of organizational and social positions, and considers the consequences of different strategies and practices for influencing change.

    Part 1: Taking up the challengePart 2: Educating for inquiring practice in sustainabilityPart 3: Ideas and practicesPart 4: Promoting alternative questioning, policies and practices in mainstream organisationsCatalysing a strategic approach to sustainability in a major IT companyChris PreistOn being a change agent for sustainabilityChristel ScholtenImbuing work with ecological valuesHelen GouldenThinking out of the box: Introducing action research into neighbourhood practice in the north-west of EnglandHelena KettleboroughChoose lifeJames BarlowLeadership for change in USA public food procurement: People, products and policyKaren KarpTwo worlds?Mark GaterPutting my learning into practicePrishani SatyapalPart 5: Establishing sustainability practices in organisations and industriesWorking below the parapetAlison KennedyProtesting and engaging for changeKené UmeasiegbuBuilding an iconic eco-factoryVidhura RalapanawePart 6: Paying attention to everyday practices of sustainable livingLike a river flows: How do we call forth 'a world worthy of human aspiration'?Helen SierodaSport as inquiry: Safe escape, activism and a journey into selfJon AlexanderPart 7: Seeking to shift systemic rules and awarenessLessons from the entrepreneurial pathCharles O'MalleyCreating places to stand and the levers to move the worldDavid BentLeading by natureJen MorganThe practice of making business responsiblePaul DickinsonThe gap between discourse and practice: Holding promoters of Amazon infrastructure projects to accountRoland WidmerPart 8: Connecting up stakeholders for more sustainable outcomesKatineJo ConfinoChallenging the system with the success of inquiryNick PyattCollaborative conservationSimon HicksPart 9: Itinerant change agents to professions and sectors'Holding up the tightrope' – helping us all act for sustainabilityCharles AingerDoing things right – and doing the right thingSimon CooperPart 10: Working through community and societyThe journey to CONVERGEIan RoderickGYVA.LT: An initiative to promote environmentally friendly living and sustainability in Lithuania Indre KleinaiteCultureWork for a world in transitionPaula DowneyPart 11: Working with young peopleGrowing food – growing peopleJane RiddifordLearning for sustainability: Living a new world-viewJoanne BaileyA journey of dialoguing: Peace and inner peaceLalith Gunaratne and Mihirini De ZoysaReflectionsBibliography


    Judi Marshall, Gill Coleman, Peter Reason

    This book brings ecological concerns slap bang into the realms of corporate business. Using the language of sustainability the contributors write openly about spiritual and emotional engagement, knowing ourselves as nature and helping business reconnect with cyclical systems that emulate the natural world. This is a story of stories promoting the importance of storytelling as we strive to achieve some semblance of leadership for sustainability. I rarely read a leadership text from cover to cover, but I found this to be a page turner, reading more like a novel, difficult to put down, and I wondered what each of the short stories would reveal as people have been moved to: "take on the challenges of living courageously in extraordinary times" (p.1). The main purpose of the book is to publicise and promote ...stories of leadership for sustainability. And what a range of leadership activities they include! From a local neighbourhood action research project in the northwest of England to the conservation of black-maned lions in Addis Ababa, via local produce for school meals in New York, a triathlon event in Weymouth and building an eco-factory to make clothes for Marks & Spencer in Sri Lanka ... I cannot do justice to 29 stories here, and I would hate to miss out any one, as they each tell of unique ways of applying common threads of learning, shared beliefs and values. This is where you have to read the book to really appreciate the passion, energies, highs and lows of everyday managers and leaders, putting their learning into practice, each in their individual contexts. They go to show how we can all do something if we are moved to do so ... For myself as a social researcher this book has renewed my confidence to follow my values, take notice of my instincts, listen to my inner thoughts and reconnect with the power of the earth. For those in this field of leadership inquiry I think there are rich pickings here. - Business Leadership Review 8.4 (October 2011) - Sue Chapman, Independent Leadership Learning Coach and Facilitator || Marshall and her colleagues have shown leadership ... using a Trojan horse approach by setting up their MSc in the heart of a traditional business school, and seeding other courses. Positive deviance in practice! The power of the action research approach shines through in the collection of twenty-nine stories, which made this book – despite the somewhat heavy going of the theoretical chapters – the most compelling sustainability book I've read for a long time. People have taken action about things they care about, and they have learnt from it. Their stories demonstrate that we encourage people to show leadership in part by allowing them to be humble and to experiment, not by pretending that only the perfect can show leadership. The stories do not trumpet an approach or sell us a technique. They are travellers' tales for people who'll see themselves in the narrative, and be inspired and comforted by it. Marshall and her colleagues on the MSc course have evidently created a safe space for people to reflect about their doubts and uncertainties as well as their hopes and insights. Chapters including this kind of personal testimony from people like Gater, Bent and Karp are intriguing, dramatic and engaging. Karp's story about food procurement shows the difference between an action learning approach and the leader as hero – she's as open about the set-backs as the successes. I instantly recognised Bent's description of holding professional optimism with personal pessimism, and many people I know have had that same conversation: wondering where their bolt-hole will be, to escape the impacts of runaway climate change. Gater's story is a brilliantly honest account of his work within a mainstream financial institution, moving a certain distance and then coming up against a seemingly insurmountable systemic challenge. In a model of authentic story-telling, he describes tensions I have heard so many organisational change agents express. He talks about visiting his colleagues 'in their world' and inviting them to visit him in his. At the end of his story, the two worlds remain unreconciled, "but it was okay – I had done what I could do as well as I believe I could have done it, and that had to be enough." Full review on Defra website - Penny Walker, independent consultant on change and sustainability