Climate change and the emergence of new organizational landscapes

Special Issue

From Organization Studies

Climate change for many is a critical issue. There appears to be a general consensus among the countries that constitute the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that a 2° Celsius warming of the planet will have dangerous, perhaps even catastrophic, consequences. More than 20 years after climate change was recognized as a critical problem, efforts to address it show a record of failure. Despite high-level efforts by states under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, there is still no legally binding agreement to effectively cut carbon dioxide emissions globally.

This special issue recognizes that climate change is not just an environmental problem requiring technical and managerial solutions; it is a political issue where a variety of organizations – state agencies, firms, industry associations, NGOs and multilateral organizations – engage in contestation as well as collaboration over the issue. Given the urgency of the problem and the need for a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy, there is a pressing need for organization scholars to develop a better understanding of apathy and inertia in the face of the current crisis and to identify paths toward transformative change. The seven papers in this special issue examine strategies, discourses, identities and practices in relation to climate change at multiple levels.

 

Abstract

There is general agreement across the world that human-made climate change is a serious global problem, although there are still some sceptics who challenge this view. Research in organization studies on the topic is relatively new. Much of this research, however, is instrumental and managerialist in its focus on ‘win-win’ opportunities for business or its treatment of climate change as just another corporate social responsibility (CSR) exercise. In this paper, we suggest that climate change is not just an environmental problem requiring technical and managerial solutions; it is a political issue where a variety of organizations – state agencies, firms, industry associations, NGOs and multilateral organizations – engage in contestation as well as collaboration over the issue. We discuss the strategic, institutional and political economy dimensions of climate change and develop a socioeconomic regimes approach as a synthesis of these different theoretical perspectives. Given the urgency of the problem and the need for a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy, there is a pressing need for organization scholars to develop a better understanding of apathy and inertia in the face of the current crisis and to identify paths toward transformative change. The seven papers in this special issue address these areas of research and examine strategies, discourses, identities and practices in relation to climate change at multiple levels.

 

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Article details
Wittneben, B., Okereke, C., Banerjee, S., & Levy, D. (2012). Climate Change and the Emergence of New Organizational Landscapes Organization Studies, 33 (11), 1431-1450 DOI: 10.1177/0170840612464612

     
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