Memes and Large System Change

Sandra Waddock, Boston College 2015

In 1976 evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene invented the term ‘meme,’ to represent the basic unit of cultural information that replicates from one person to another. Dawkins sought a term that resembled the basic building block of life—the gene—for the basic building block of culture—the meme. Memes generate the complex ideas and other units of information that form into complexes, called memeplexes by Susan Blackmore in her book The Meme Machine. Such memeplexes become our belief systems, ideologies, cultures, stories, shared values and norms, and common (or not) understandings, among other things. The core idea of the successful meme is that it transfers from one person to another, like genes, reasonably intact.

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Sustainable Frontiers: Launch Events

SustfrontSustainable Frontiers:
Unlocking Change for Transforming Business and Technology

Wayne Visser
June 2015, Greenleaf Publishing
www.sustainablefrontiers.net

 


Sustainable Frontiers throws down the gauntlet to business to step up to be the catalyst for a sustainable future. It presents eight keys to unlocking transformational change through leadership, enterprise, innovation, transparency, engagement, responsibility, integration and future-fitness. Far from being another tame review of corporate social responsibility and sustainable business initiatives, the book dispels the myths of sustainability and challenges us to let go of old systems that are failing to deliver economic, social and environmental transformation. It gets to the heart of why the sustainability and CSR movements have failed in the past and offers a new view of how sustainable business practices can shape-shift to make a genuine difference inside and outside organisations.

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Q&A with Treedom – Greenleaf’s Tree-Giving Partner this Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day 2015 on April 22, we’re giving our customers the gift of a cacao tree with purchases of specially selected Greenleaf Publishing eBooks, in support of a Treedom reforestation project in Cameroon.

We sat down with Filippo Taccetti and Niccolo Giordano from Treedom to ask them some questions about their initiative on behalf of our readers.

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Occupying the Collective Space

by Dr. Katrin Muff

Different ways of occupying…

As we will consider in this month’s blog, there are different ways of occupying that middle ground between the personal space each of us feel responsible for, and societal best interests. The collective space called “we” can be used to uplift individuals to act together for a better common future, or it can be hijacked by individuals or special interest groups to occupy or “blockupy” the collective space pressing their issues – for better, or worse, as we shall see below, and not necessarily in the interest of the greater common good.

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Greenleaf Online Library Now Available in Ethiopia and Mozambique

Greenleaf and GSE

 

 

 

GSE Research and Greenleaf Publishing is bringing its Greenleaf Online Library (GOL) collection to Ethiopia and Mozambique for the first time.

The resource is being made available to the universities, research institutions and governments of each country through the publisher’s partnership with INASP; an international development charity that works to improve access, production and use of research information and knowledge, so that countries are equipped to solve their development challenges.

GOL covers topics including sustainability, responsible business, business ethics, corporate governance, development economics and environmental management. The latest version of the collection contains more than 4,000 individually tagged chapters, articles, case studies and reports drawn from nearly 300 books and journal issues, published by independent specialist Greenleaf Publishing and partners including the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), UN Global Compact and Geneva Association.

Director John Peters said: ‘We’re delighted to be working in partnership with INASP to make our content more widely available in developing countries. It was one of the reasons I wanted to start this business, and make it a success. We are trying to make the world a bit better by what we do.’

For more information about GSE Research and Greenleaf Publishing, please visit www.gseresearch.com.

To find out more about INASP, please see www.inasp.info.

 

 

Coalition action on sustainable capitalism

Professor David Grayson, CBE

Professor David Grayson, CBE

“There is nothing so practical as a good theory!” one of my Cranfield, professorial colleagues is fond of observing. (I imagine mentally adding “soundly applied.”)

Institutional Theory of social change suggests the importance of organisations which can convene, socialise new ideas, capacity-build and codify new good practice for successful social change processes. Hence, the attention that Jane Nelson and I gave to the emergence, growth and development of the corporate responsibility coalitions, in our 2013 book (Corporate Responsibility Coalitions: The Past, Present and Future of Alliances for Sustainable Capitalism), to explain the movement for responsible business. Continue reading

Being a force for positive change in the world: the time is now

Social_Intra_Jazz_HIThere is an excellent report on the state of the world, and how to make it better from a group of eminent people, headed by the former boss of the World Trade Organisation, Pascal Lamy, called Now for the Long Term. This group of distinguished, largely international public servants with some business figures was convened by the Oxford Martin School to examine how to “break gridlock on global challenges or risk an unstable future.” Their excellent report which, if you have not yet read it, I heartily commend, begins with an arresting statement: “NOW is the best time in history to be alive.” Continue reading

It’s Time for Business to Earn a License to Operate

paul polmanThe acronym VUCA — Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous — may have its origins in the military, but it is increasingly clear that it applies to all aspects of our lives today. The fact is we operate in an age of fast-moving and increasingly unpredictable change. No one country, society, industrial sector or individual organisation is immune. We are all impacted. Navigating this new reality is made even more challenging by the increasingly interdependent nature of today’s world.

The issues and predicaments we face are linked inextricably as never before. There is no better or more dramatic illustration of this than the food, water, energy and climate nexus, so effectively highlighted over recent years by the World Economic Forum and others. How do we guarantee food security for a rapidly rising population in the face of growing water and energy constraints, many of them directly attributable to climate change? No wonder one leading scientist has warned of a ‘perfect storm’ of global events. Increasingly, business has found itself in the eye of this storm, mistrusted by large sections of society and seen, with some justification, as part of the problem and not part of the solution to many of today’s challenges. This has to change. Business can no longer afford to be a bystander, content to sit on the sidelines doing the minimum necessary to acquire its ‘licence to operate.’ The challenges require — and citizens demand — a different approach.
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Call for Papers on ‘Japanese Approaches to CSR’

JCC46 coverThe Journal of Corporate Citizenship is pleased to invite papers for a special issue of the JCC on ‘Japanese Approaches to CSR.’ 

Guest Editor: Prof. Kanji Tanimoto, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

Overview of the theme
How is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) understood and managed in Japanese business, and how is it part of ‘good’ Corporate Governance?

The debate on CSR has grown rapidly and internationally over the last two decades, in both business and academic communities. The current CSR movement has been developed in European and Anglo-American contexts based on principles of the market, industrial, business and social structures. However, CSR has taken root in other countries and areas as well and increasingly in Japan. The Japanese economic system has been traditionally structured by relational trading between firms, relational banking, and a long-term relationship with employees for mutual consideration. It has always been an advantage of the Japanese economy. Now, however, we must explore whether it is a strength or weakness for globalization and in embedding CSR into Japanese corporate society. There is much debate on how to incorporate the concept and philosophy of CSR into the context of different countries. Since the early 2000s there have been a growing number of studies offering alternative perspectives on CSR, deriving from Asia and other regions. We need to examine how CSR management and practical wisdom in organisations works in various countries/regions, rather than simply highlighting the differences amongst regions.
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