Leadership for Sustainability: An Action Research Approach

Leadership for Sustainability: An Action Research Approach

By: Judi Marshall (author), Gill Coleman (author), Peter Reason (author)Hardback

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Those who advocate moving towards sustainability debate how change can be achieved. Does it have necessarily to be top-down or can it also be bottom-up? Can radical organizational and social change be spread from "the middle"? Who can lead change when those with seniority and credibility are necessarily embedded in currently dominant mind-sets and power structures? This book focuses on what it means to take up leadership for sustainability, from a variety of organizational and social positions, and considers the consequences of different strategies and practices for influencing change. Leadership for Sustainability shows what an action research based practice of leadership for sustainability looks like and provides a sense of the personal and professional challenges this involves; it demonstrates how people who are influencing change draw on reflective practice strategically (to create a context in which they can be influential) and also tactically (in moment-to-moment choices about how to act). It also illustrates and reflects on the kinds of outcomes that can be expected from this work, both the specific and strategic achievements, and the difficulties, challenges and disappointments. Thus the major part of this volume consists of accounts by graduates of an innovative master's programme, the MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice, of their activities, projects, achievements and learning. Accompanying sections from the editors overview, analyse and reflect on these accounts and the issues they raise for notions of leadership, practice, sustainability and change. One substantial chapter offers ideas, frameworks and practices for people taking leadership. One of the most dispiriting aspects of the environmental challenges that beset us is the lack of agency that many people experience: we do not know what to do or how to do it. Many organizations espouse a sustainable approach. This may be lip service or it may be a genuine attempt to integrate sustainability into business strategy. Whatever form it takes, organizational sustainability programmes need committed, intelligent, reflective leadership at all levels to make them work. The examples in this book show how people in very different contexts have seized the opportunities open to them and acted with courage and initiative to make a difference. This book will be relevant to a wide range of people, including managers, consultants and others in commercial, non-profit, public and intergovernmental organisations who want to contribute to the development of a sustainable world. It will be of particular interest to people working in organizations already thinking about issues of sustainability and those who are seeking to take on the role of change agents in organisations or communities. In addition, the book will be a resource for those in educational fields, primarily but not exclusively higher and further education, who wish to work with their students to develop leadership practices through action research based educational approaches. All contributors to this book have been associated with the MSc in Responsibility & Business Practice at the University of Bath, School of Management, UK, either as tutors or participants. This innovative degree course used action research to engage with challenging issues in a wide range of business, public service and civil society contexts. At the heart of this book are stories from 29 people who are seeking to make the world more environmentally sustainable and socially just. They report their purposes, journeys, impacts, learning and disappointments. Their accounts are diverse and from many different worlds, ranging from fast moving consumer goods to international forestry and conservation projects. They have in common that they are among the 254 graduates of an innovative Master's programme, the MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice community, who in one way or another are adopting action research as a practice of taking leadership for sustainability, and believe their actions can be significant contributions to the causes that matter to them.

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About Author

JUDI MARSHALL is Professor of Leadership and Learning at Lancaster University Management School. GILL COLEMAN is Co-Director of the MSc in Sustainability and Responsibility at Ashridge Business School. PETER REASON is a retired Professor of Action Research.


Part 1: Taking up the challenge Part 2: Educating for inquiring practice in sustainability Part 3: Ideas and practices Part 4: Promoting alternative questioning, policies and practices in mainstream organisations Catalysing a strategic approach to sustainability in a major IT company Chris Preist On being a change agent for sustainability Christel Scholten Imbuing work with ecological values Helen Goulden Thinking out of the box: Introducing action research into neighbourhood practice in the north-west of England Helena Kettleborough Choose life James Barlow Leadership for change in USA public food procurement: People, products and policy Karen Karp Two worlds? Mark Gater Putting my learning into practice Prishani Satyapal Part 5: Establishing sustainability practices in organisations and industries Working below the parapet Alison Kennedy Protesting and engaging for change Kene Umeasiegbu Building an iconic eco-factory Vidhura Ralapanawe Part 6: Paying attention to everyday practices of sustainable living Like a river flows: How do we call forth 'a world worthy of human aspiration'? Helen Sieroda Sport as inquiry: Safe escape, activism and a journey into self Jon Alexander Part 7: Seeking to shift systemic rules and awareness Lessons from the entrepreneurial path Charles O'Malley Creating places to stand and the levers to move the world David Bent Leading by nature Jen Morgan The practice of making business responsible Paul Dickinson The gap between discourse and practice: Holding promoters of Amazon infrastructure projects to account Roland Widmer Part 8: Connecting up stakeholders for more sustainable outcomes Katine Jo Confino Challenging the system with the success of inquiry Nick Pyatt Collaborative conservation Simon Hicks Part 9: Itinerant change agents to professions and sectors 'Holding up the tightrope' - helping us all act for sustainability Charles Ainger Doing things right - and doing the right thing Simon Cooper Part 10: Working through community and society The journey to CONVERGE Ian Roderick GYVA.LT: An initiative to promote environmentally friendly living and sustainability in Lithuania Indre Kleinaite CultureWork for a world in transition Paula Downey Part 11: Working with young people Growing food - growing people Jane Riddiford Learning for sustainability: Living a new world-view Joanne Bailey A journey of dialoguing: Peace and inner peace Lalith Gunaratne and Mihirini De Zoysa Reflections Bibliography

Product Details

  • publication date: 01/04/2011
  • ISBN13: 9781906093594
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 262
  • ID: 9781906093594
  • weight: 530
  • ISBN10: 1906093598

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