The Business-Society Interface

This afternoon I had an opportunity to give a talk — “The Business-Society Interface: Meeting the Challenges of Sustainability, Social License to Operate, and Innovation” — to a group of oil and gas executives visiting the University of Alberta from India. The talk covered topics such as sustainability, ESG ratings, and fossil fuel divestment, while also drawing on ideas which originated in two of my published articles: Metatheoretical Perspectives on Sustainability Journeys and Social License to Operate.

SONGS Meets the Market

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) is an inoperative nuclear power plant on the Pacific coast of the United States, near San Diego, California. The plant was closed in June 2013 and is in the early stages of being decommissioned. According to Think Progress, the decommissioning process will go on for at least two decades, and the radioactive waste will be stored onsite for the foreseeable future.

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Developmental Workshop on Innovation for Societal Impact: A Process Perspective

I’m pleased to announce the details of a developmental workshop on Innovation for Societal Impact: A Process Perspective.

Northern Advanced Research Training Initiative (NARTI) Developmental Workshop on: INNOVATION FOR SOCIETAL IMPACT: A PROCESS PERSPECTIVE Professors: Raghu Garud, Joel Gehman, and Krsto Pandza Thursday, 26 September 2013, Leeds University Business School

The workshop will be held on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at the Leeds University Business School. The workshop faculty include: Raghu Garud (Pennsylvania State University), Krsto Pandza (University of Leeds), and Joel Gehman (University of Alberta).

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Dow’s Sustainability Strategy

The March 19, 2012 issue of Fortune featured an interview between Geoff Colvin and Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW).

Entitled “Dow’s New Direction” I found several snipets of the interview to be interesting.

What’s Dow’s strategy now? This is the third great transformation of the company. It started out as an inorganic chemistry company 115 years ago. It became a petrochemical and plastics company. The transformation of the past seven or eight years is to a science-based company that takes feedstocks and adds value to them. So less commodities. We’re bringing in biological science, physics, chemistry, material science.

Basically, Liveris is offering a real-time narrative that makes sense of Dow’s past legacies while seeking to insure Dow’s future relevance. Later, Liveris connects these “great transformations” with Dow’s sustainability journey.

I think we’ve really elevated our position, representing ourselves not as Dow Chemical but as Dow, a company based on sustainable business… “Sustainable” is no longer an option, it’s an adjective — sustainable business, sustainable science, sustainable solutions.

Finally, an interesting comment that I don’t believe has received much attention: sustainability as a recruiting strategy.

Our recruiting strategies have changed with our advertising strategy, rebranding the company around the human element and sustainability, presenting a company that is innovation-centric vs. the notion that it was a legacy company in commodity chemicals.

Metatheoretical Perspectives on Sustainability Journeys Now Published

We just received word that “Metatheoretical Perspectives on Sustainability Journeys: Evolutionary, Relational and Durational” will be published in the July 2012 issue of Research Policy as part of a special section on sustainability transitions.

According to Journal Citation Reports, Research Policy had a 1-year impact factor of 2.51 and a 5-year impact factor of 4.24 in 2010, making it the highest rated journal for research related to innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship — ahead of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and Journal of Business Venturing, as well as journals such as Harvard Business Review, Management Science, and Organization Studies.

The final citation is Garud, R. & Gehman, J. 2012. Metatheoretical Perspectives on Sustainability Journeys: Evolutionary, Relational and Durational. Research Policy, 41: 980-995.

The paper also is available through SSRN and ResearchGate.

Metatheoretical Perspectives on Sustainability Journeys In Press

Today, my paper — “Metatheoretical Perspectives on Sustainability Journeys: Evolutionary, Relational and Durational” — was published on the Research Policy website. Co-authored with Raghu Garud (Pennsylvania State University), the paper examines what we term evolutionary, relational and durational perspectives on sustainability journeys. Each perspective emphasizes different facets of sustainability – shifts in selection environments, reconfigurations of emergent networks, and intertemporal comparisons and contrasts. We conclude the paper by discussing implications for sustainability policy, strategy and research.

The paper is available through SSRN and ResearchGate.

Sustainability Journeys

Today, I presented a version of our forthcoming paper entitled “Metatheoretical Perspectives on Sustainability Journeys: Evolutionary, Relational and Durational” at the 2011 Academy of Management Annual Meeting in San Antonio (USA). Earlier versions of this research were presented at the Industry Studies Association Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh (USA) and the European Group for Organization Studies Colloquium in Gothenburg (Sweden).