1st Edition

System Leadership for Sustainability

ISBN 9780367342180
Published December 2, 2019 by Routledge
206 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book is the first to explore the application of system leadership to promote sustainable solutions for contemporary and future environmental and social problems. The combination of synthesized research summaries and case studies of individuals and organizations contribute considerably to the field by expanding system leadership concepts from theory to practical application. System leadership has been identified as a method by which complex societal problems can be addressed, but it has as yet not been applied to sustainability. The first chapters introduce the background and fundamentals of system leadership and its relevance to sustainability. The chapters that propose methods of developing system leadership, examples of system leaders, and practical application of system leadership in industry, academic, government, nonprofit, and NGO settings. Each chapter includes a chapter case, interview, and/or reflection questions in order to stimulate critical thinking and provide instructional tools for academic use and practical application. The book is particularly relevant to researchers and students internationally in the fields of social development and sustainability. It is also relevant to public, private, and nonprofit/NGO management practitioners who are curious about the leadership styles and skills necessary to develop a sustainable future.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to system leadership;  2. Why system leadership is appropriate for sustainability;  3. System leadership characteristics and competencies;  4. Development of system leadership for sustainability;  5. System leadership for sustainability in business;  6. System leadership for sustainability in academia;  7. System leadership for sustainability in government and intergovernmental organizations;  8. System leadership for sustainability in nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations;  9. System leadership for individual sustainability;  10 Future of system leadership for sustainability.

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Christopher G. Beehner is Professor of Business and Information Management, Seminole State College of Florida, USA. He is the author of Spirituality, Sustainability and Success: Concepts and Cases. He has also frequently published and presented about sustainable business education.


"Professor Beehner offers useful lessons for us all in applying the concepts of systems analysis to the urgent challenge of providing leadership for sustainable development. He rightly sees an appreciation for complexity and a commitment to integrative thinking as keys to the leadership we need that focuses on the whole and on the whole's interconnections to natural systems. I highly recommend his instructive book to all those who seek a sustainable world."

James Bacchus, Distinguished University Professor of Global Affairs, Director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity, University of Central Florida, former U.S. Congressman, and former chief judge at the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization.


"This insightful book gives one multiple examples into current applications of much needed system leadership and system leaders for sustainability, such as determined (US) local government leaders, who have impact within and beyond their communities. The multilaterally agreed SDGs are end result based. This book guides us on what governance is needed across the board (NGOs, INGOs, different levels of government, businesses, and citizens) to make change real in today’s network society."

Dr. Dorine van Norren, ex-diplomat, researcher Tilburg University, PhD Development as Service, The Netherlands.


"A sustainable future does require system leaders, who orchestrate interactions among multiple stakeholders transcending system and subsystem boundaries. This book clearly presents the how-to of system leadership for business, government, non-profit, and educational organizations. It stimulated me to create new partnerships for local and global action."

Dr. Dennis Heaton, Professor, Sustainable Business MBA, Maharishi University of Management, USA.


"In System Leadership for Sustainability, Beehner has zeroed in on the most critical aspect of solving wicked problems: it cannot be done without an integrated, collaborative effort across multiple arenas of influence. Sustainability is such a wicked problem, requiring innovation across boundaries and stakeholders. Beehner explores this holistic leadership approach in depth, with clarity and ample illustrations, exploring both the strengths of this systems approach to sustainability leadership and the barriers to it."

Dr. Toni L. Blum, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, The University of Texas at El Paso, USA.