Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management
Special Issue on
The Roads Less Travelled: Transformation Towards a Sustainable and Equitable Community
Call for Papers
Organizations operate in the broader context of demographic, political, ecological, socio-cultural, technological and ethical imperatives. The obligation for making “intertemporal trade-offs to safeguard intergenerational equity” (Bansal & DesJardine, 2014, p.70) builds on the triple bottom line framework which calls for balancing the financial objectives of the organizations with the need for environmental protection and social equality (Elkington, 1994). However, most of the current paradigms view economic imperatives to be focal and consider the broader contexts to be just some ‘garnishing on the plate,’ due to which integrative approaches remain ‘the roads less travelled.’ Exploring alternate viewpoints and “revisiting other bodies of knowledge may enable us to visualize the reality, which does not privilege the nature-culture dichotomy that has proved so disempowering for millions of people in the planet” (Banerjee, 1999, p.19) and may pave the way for sustainable and inclusive methods of managing organizations, which integrate financial goals with other imperatives. .
In this regard, it is crucial to comparatively analyze how stakeholders in different parts of the world interpret organizational sustainability and its practice. This juxtaposition promises to provide some insightful observations. For example, in the context of micro, small and medium enterprises, there is the view that “the third world reality constructed by this Eurocentric corporate social responsibility, silences and/or denies the possibility of existence of alternate trajectories of fulfilling business responsibility and ensuring welfare” (Jammulamadaka, 2015, p.79) and that “the ‘rational’ management of resources is integral to the Western economy, and its imposition on developing countries is problematic’ (Banerjee, 2003, p.143).
Transformations cannot be managed or controlled but must draw on unruly politics, involving diverse knowledge and multiple actors (Scoones, 2016). “Social transformations entail more plural, emergent, and unruly political re-alignments, concerning social and technological innovations driven by diversely incommensurable knowledge, challenging incumbent structures and pursuing contending (even unknown) ends” (Stirling, 2014). It is necessary to go beyond the organization and to examine how individuals and local communities organize themselves and create collective movements to improve their economic and social status and to protect their natural resources.
While the debate on conceptual issues and the scope of the sustainability paradigm continues, identifying and understanding the practical aspects of the micro-level and macro-level organizational sustainability is also vital. Organizational sustainability involves long-term thinking with a focus on areas such as environmental management, green technologies, social equity, and inclusiveness. Socially sustainable organizations create value for the communities in which they function by enhancing the human capital of the individual partners as well as the societal capital of the community (Dyllick & Hockerts, 2002 ). The genesis of many unsustainable practices lies in economic and social inequities and injustices related to race, caste, gender, ableism, etc. Creating a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness and embraces many unorthodox efforts for enhancing subjective well-being at the workplace and beyond are vital for promoting social equity within and outside the organization (Boiral, Raineri, & Talbot, 2016). For instance, employee pro-environmental behaviour is critical for the success of the organization’s greening and formal environmental initiatives (Boiral, Paillé, & Raineri, 2015).
Corporate governance seeks to balance the economic and social goals of a firm by measures such as the efficient use of resources, accountability in the use of power, and its behaviour in its social environment (Sethi, 2002). There is a relationship between good governance and sustainability (Aras & Crowther, 2008). It is also pertinent to examine the role of the state and its institutions in the organizational sustainability space. The presence or lack of regulatory and other direct and indirect incentives and promotions extended by governments to promote economic and social justice and environmental protection needs examination. Cross-sector partnerships involving business, non-profits, and government in sustainability efforts call for research on how the potential of such cooperative endeavours can be better realized.
Substantial research on various aspects of organizational sustainability using mainly the quantitative approaches is being undertaken. However, there remains a great deal of concern about and reservations regarding the extent to which organizations have progressed toward true sustainability. It appears that some issues and challenges are falling through the loopholes of these quantitative approaches. There is a need to use more probing and subjective methods resulting in more precious insights that will help collective efforts across geographies, cultures and demographics in their quest for sustainability. This special issue of Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management on the theme ‘The Roads Less Travelled: Transformation Towards a Sustainable and Equitable Community’ focuses on the qualitative research concerning various dimensions of the journey towards sustainability and the experiences, attitudes and learning of relevant stakeholders such as employees, management, suppliers and other partners, collaborating institutions and customers in the process. The areas covered include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Conceptual perspectives in defining organizational sustainability and its space
- Geopolitics and racial governance of sustainability
- Employing traditional and/ or indigenous philosophies to address sustainability
- Sustainability and stakeholder motives and perceptions
- Challenges for the transformative efforts towards organizational sustainability
- The regulatory context of sustainability
- International, regional, and local institutions for sustainable development
- Organization culture for sustainability
- Organizational sustainability and corporate social responsibility
- Organizational practices for inclusiveness and social and economic equity
- Pro-environmental workplace attitudes and behavior
- Subjective well-being at the workplace
- Instruments for organizational transformation towards sustainability
- Organizations and green initiatives
- Technology and organizational sustainability
- Cross-sector partnerships for addressing sustainability
- Local communities and movements for sustainability
- Politics of transformation and sustainability
The research papers eligible for this special issue shall contribute to the extant literature by:
- providing an in-depth study of the processes involved (e.g., what activities/ interrelationships can be identified in arriving at a particular conclusion?)
- reflecting upon the issues of research practice (i.e., what we can learn from applying selected qualitative methods);
- being critical of the ‘business as usual’ approach (i.e., broadly concerned with understanding the impact of managing and organizing on human experience and life chances);
- focussing on subjective experience (i.e., provides in-depth understanding of what people feel about the processes involved);
- staying context-oriented (e.g., provides understanding of the context in which the study is conducted and the potential influence on the people under study);
- providing an “in-depth” account of key aspects of the (qualitative) research applied and the challenges involved (e.g., what methods were used, how/why were they used, and what lessons are to be learned from adopting a particular research strategy)
Meenakshi Handa, University School of Management Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India firstname.lastname@example.org
Gagan Deep Sharma, University School of Management Studies, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi, India email@example.com
Submission Deadline: May 31, 2020
Please read the author guidelines here http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=qrom
All submissions should be made via the Scholar One system http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/qrom
Aras, G. & Crowther, D. (2008), ‘Governance and sustainability: an investigation into the relationship between corporate governance and corporate sustainability’, Management Decision, Vol. 46 No. 3, p. 433-48.
Bansal, P. & DesJardine, M.R. (2014), ‘Business sustainability: it is about time, Strategic Organization, Vol.12 No. 1, p.70–78.
Banerjee, B. (1999), Sustainable Development and the Reinvention of Nature, Paper presented at the Critical Management Studies Conference (Environment Stream) Manchester, UK, July 14-16, 1999.
Banerjee, B. (2003), Who Sustains Whose Development? Sustainable Development and the Reinvention of Nature, Organization Studies 24(1), p.143–180.
Boiral, O., Paillé, P., & Raineri, N. (2015), ‘The Nature of Employees’ Pro- Environmental Behaviors’, The Psychology of Green Organizations, New York: Oxford University Press,
Boiral, O., Raineri, N., & Talbot, D. (2016), ‘Managers’ Citizenship Behaviors for the Environment: A Developmental Perspective’, Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 149, No. 2,
Dyllick, T. & Hockerts, K. (2002), ‘Beyond the Business Case for Corporate Sustainability’, Business Strategy & the Environment, Vol. 11 p.30–141.
Elkington, J. (1994) ‘Towards the Sustainable Corporation: Win-Win-Win Business Strategies for Sustainable Development,” California Management Review, Vol. 36, No. 2, p. 90–100.
Jammulamadaka, N. (2015) Responsibility for the third world factory: limits
of eurocentric CSR and making room for the state, Decision, Vol. 42(1):p. 71–82
Sethi, S.P. (2002), ‘Standards for corporate conduct in the international arena: challenges and
opportunities for multinational corporations’, Business and Society Review, Vol. 107 No.1,
Smith, A., Fressoli, M., &Thomas, H. (2013) Grassroots innovation movements: challenges and contributions, Journal of Cleaner Production,
Stirling, A. (2014) Emancipating Transformations: From controlling ‘the transition’ to
culturing plural radical progress, STEPS Working Paper 64, Brighton: STEPS Centre