Management and the Sustainability Paradox: Reconnecting the Human Chain, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Management and the Sustainability Paradox

Reconnecting the Human Chain, 1st Edition

By David Wasieleski, Paul Shrivastava, Sandra Waddock


184 pages

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Hardback: 9781138204782
pub: 2020-07-31
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Management and the Sustainability Paradox is about how humans became disconnected from their ecological environment throughout evolutionary history. Begining with the premise that people have competing innate, natural drives linked to survival. Survival can be thought of in the context of long-term genetic propagation of a species, but at the same time, it involves overcoming of immediate adversities. Due to a diverse set of survival challenges facing our ancestors, natural selection often favored short-term solutions, which by consequence, muted the motivations associated with longer-range sustainability values.

Managerial decisions and choices mostly adopt a moral calculus of costs versus benefits. Managers invoke economic and corporate growth to justify virtually any action. It is this moral calculus underlying corporate behavior that needs critical examination and reformation. At the heart of it lie deep moral questions that we examine in this book, with the goal of proposing ethical solutions to the paradox.

Management and the Sustainability Paradox examines the issue that there appears to be an inherent paradox between what some businesses view as "a need for progress" and " a concern for sustainability". In business, we often see a collision between ideas of progress and sustainability which shapes corporate actions, and managerial decisions. Typical corporate views of progress involve the creation of wealth, jobs, innovative products, and social philanthropic projects. On the basis of these "progressive" actions they justify their inequitable distribution of surpluses by paying low wages and exploiting ecological resources. It is not difficult to see the antagonistic interplay between technological and social innovation with our values for social and environmental well-being and a dualism that needs to be overcome.

This book is intended for a broad appeal to an academic and policy maker audience in the sustainability and management fields. The book will be of vital reading for managers seeking to reconnect our human chain with the natural environment in the cause of sustainable business.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures Foreword Preface Prologue Introduction: The Human Condition. 1. Consciousness 2. Spirituality 3. Migration 4. Science 5. Exchange 6. Time 7. Values 8. Tools References Index

About the Authors

David M. Wasieleski is the Management Department, Duquesne University, USA.

Paul Shrivastava is the Executive Director of Future Earth and was David O’Brien Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at Concordia University, USA.

Sandra Waddock is Galligan Chair of Strategy, Carroll School Scholar of Corporate Responsibility, and Professor of Management at Boston College's Carroll School of Management.   Winner of numerous awards, including a 2017 PRME Pioneer Award, she has published over 150 papers and 13 books, including Healing the World (Routledge/Greenleaf, 2017) and Intellectual Shamans (Cambridge, 2014). Current research interests include transformational system change, memes and narratives in transformations, intellectual shamanism, and management education, and wisdom, among others. 


About the Series

Routledge Studies in Management, Organizations and Society

Management, Organizations and Society represents innovative work grounded in new realities; addressing issues crucial to an understanding of the contemporary world. This is the world of organized societies, where boundaries between formal and informal, public and private, local and global organizations have been displaced or vanished along with other nineteenth century dichotomies and oppositions. Management, apart from becoming a specialised profession for a growing number of people, is an everyday activity for most members of modern societies. Management, Organizations and Society will address these contemporary dynamics of transformation in a manner that transcends disciplinary boundaries, with work which will appeal to researchers, students and practitioners alike.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics