When Values Collide

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

In looking back over the blogs Katrin and I wrote this year, I noted that “change” is a theme connecting most if not all of them. We discussed the urgent need for change, various levels of change, forces that propel change as well as those that hinder it. We examined the need to understand our own change-related assumptions. We offered suggestions for how to become change experts. And last month Katrin described an engagement with a client where she facilitated a change process. All along we have acknowledged that change is difficult. This month I will reflect on how recent change-related challenges have confronted me personally and what I have learned as a result.

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ARSP as a diversity of perspectives

Following the release of the latest edition of The Annual Review of Social Partnerships (ARSP), Associate Editor, Jill Bogie, discusses the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in building a more sustainable future.

One of the reasons that ARSP is such a great resource is the diversity of perspectives that it offers and the huge variety of subject areas where cross-sector partnerships (CSPs) are applied. From this variety, one of the notable themes in this year’s issue is multi-stakeholder collaboration. The editors of the Publications Section observe that there is a growing interest in the governance of such arrangements. It is a topic that is covered in each of the five sections of ARSP.

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Ahead of the release of his new book Somebody Else’s Problem: Consumerism, Sustainability and Design, Robert Crocker examines the pervasive and destructive impacts of our consumption-driven social and economic systems.

Consumerism today represents an unprecedented crisis of values, in ethical, social and material terms. Never before have so many resources and so much energy been used to produce so many goods for so many people. And never before have hundreds of millions of people across the world been so ingeniously encouraged to buy, use and then throw away or upgrade – with increasing rapidity – what they have bought. This has resulted in a world of unsustainable material flows, and a world drowning in waste.

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Call for Papers: Leading Wellbeing in Rural Contexts

Papers are now being invited for inclusion in a special edition of the Journal of Corporate Citizenship. Issue 68, which will be published in December 2017, will focus on ‘Leading Wellbeing in Rural Contexts’ and addresses the question: ‘What are the unique challenges of rurality for communities and businesses, and how can we address them?’.

Worldwide, 46% of the population are classified as rural [1], although there is considerable variation across developing and developed countries. There are related demographical challenges which are impacted by the availability of, and access to, services. These challenges are complex but the combined effect of positive migration to rural areas of people at older ages and net out-migration of younger people is an established trend in OECD countries that inevitably results in population ageing [2]. Continue reading

10 steps toward organizational sustainability

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Author and consultant, Katrin Muff, shares an inspirational story from a recent day she spent facilitating an organization’s shift toward embracing sustainability and shared values.

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

What does it take to get an engineering company to embrace their care for a better world? Is it possible to provide access to the deeper meaning of sustainability to those who define it as either one-dimensional economic long-term survival, or as a predominantly ecological issue?

These were my questions as I prepared for my consulting day with a medium-sized traditional Swiss engineering company. The sustainability-fluent CEO had invited me to lead a workshop with his senior team, including the board, in a first conversation towards formulating a vision 2030 for a company that, in his view, had embrace sustainability. I am sharing here the step-by-step process of that very positive one-day workshop.

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Consumerism: Somebody Else’s Problem?

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What are the consequences of our addiction to convenience? How can we move beyond the belief that ever-increasing consumption is equivalent to progress? Ahead of the publication of Somebody Else’s Problem: Consumerism, Sustainability and Design by Robert Crocker, foreword author – Stuart Walker – considers why it’s time for a shift in priorities.

I was sitting on a beach in a sheltered cove in Greece. I was on one of the lesser visited islands and this place was quite secluded – a lengthy walk from the nearest road. The water was calm, the sky was blue – it was a perfect scene. One could imagine Odysseus dropping anchor in such a cove, and wood nymphs playing among the shadows of the tamarisk trees that came down to the sand.

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Mental Models

Note: this article is part of The Transatlantic Debate Blog series, which forms a conversation between Dr. Katrin Muff and Dr. Kathy Miller Perkins on business sustainability. Read the previous post here.

We live in a complex world fraught with challenges that require large-scale change. Thus all of us need to become change experts who can function at the individual, organizational and societal levels.  These statements echo the themes of Katrin Muff’s blog last month.  I agree with her premises.  Therefore, this month I will build on her idea by examining the importance of mental models to change expertise.  This is a complicated and much discussed topic, and I don’t intend to cover it thoroughly.  I will merely introduce it in this blog and include my arguments as to why it is important for change expertise.

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