Organizing Sustainably: Introduction to the Special Issue

Article Abstract

To confront the climate crisis requires fundamental system change in order to break the convention of relentless economic exploitation of nature. In this Special Issue we extend understanding of the opportunities for an organizing perspective on sustainability in order that organization studies might contribute more effectively to the challenges of organizing sustainably. This organizing perspective is particularly sensitive to (1) a variety of forms and practices of sustainable organizing in different societal spheres and on different levels, (2) the social institutions, logics and value systems in which these forms and practices are embedded, (3) the power and politics of promoting (or blocking) sustainable organization, and (4) the ways in which work, voice, participation, and inclusion are organized and contribute to developing societal capabilities. These features formed the basis of our original call for papers and we review selected literature on sustainability, including the contribution of organization studies and the articles in this Special Issue, through this organizing perspective. In so doing we identify four key themes of a future research agenda that builds from the foundations of existing research and addresses key current limitations in both theory and practice: sustainability requires social justice; connecting local and global scale shifts; democratizing governance; and acting collectively. We conclude with some implications for our own scholarship in organization studies if we are to meet the twin challenges of the need for new theorizing in combination with devising practically relevant support for change.

Organization Studies, January 2024

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About the researcher

Andreas (Andi) Pekarek is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Andi is fascinated by how people work, and his research has focused on how collective action by workers and their allies can steer the world of work in a more sustainable direction, towards fairness and social justice. His recent projects have centred on gig work in the platform economy, unions and industrial relations institutions, the HRM occupation, and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of work. He has published in leading international journals, such as Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Human Resource Management Journal, Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Organization, British Journal of Industrial Relations, and New Technology, Work and Employment. He is an Associate Editor of Research in the Sociology of Work (Emerald) and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Industrial Relations (Sage).

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