The Common Transformative Space of Sustainability and Responsibility
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To enable future publication of the research elsewhere
This thesis attempts to formally connect the fields of sustainability and responsibility. It considers first the larger context of business sustainability and responsible leadership, and evaluates the value and need for a common transformative space for these fields and what such a space might look like. As such, the thesis investigates the relation between sustainability and responsibility from an organizational and personal development perspective. This developmental perspective emerges from research in the domain of business education and the role of business schools in terms of educating responsible leaders for a sustainable world. The research suggests a concrete approach, the ‘Collaboratory’ for such a common space of transformation and critically evaluates its effectiveness to develop responsible leaders. The key contribution of this thesis lies in the interconnection of two fast evolving fields of research: the development of responsible leadership and business sustainability, providing a model for practitioners and scholars to reflect on and debate the larger forces and dynamics at play. Most research to date has focused on considering personal and organizational transformation separately. On the one hand, research scholars have studied effective learning environments to enable responsible leadership, and on the other hand, we have studied if and how organizations can advance from their current mode of operations to become “truly sustainable”. The thesis contributes a model to describe the interdependency of these two, and proposes the ‘Collaboratory’ as a means to realize this interdependency in practice. Chapter 1 is a new article theorizing the whole argument; subsequent chapters are previously published articles in these inter-connected fields and addressing methods and approaches to connect personal and organization development, drawing from a body of literature that considers the human spirit in large social change; and using the ‘Collaboratory’ as an illustrative and timely example for such methods.
PhD by Publication in Management Studies