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2021 | Book

Sustainability Mindset and Transformative Leadership

A Multidisciplinary Perspective


About this book

This volume examines the importance of leadership in developing an effective sustainability strategy. It defines the sustainability mindset and surveys the primary motivations, conditions, or environment(s) that cause leaders to embrace sustainable practices. As described in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 8, embracing the sustainability mindset will lead to greater productivity and promote economic growth.
Organized into themes of organizational operations, leadership competencies, and leadership practices, the chapters, written by contributors representing global perspectives, tackle topics such as strategy, culture, and leadership styles in developing a new form of mindfulness for leaders as well as organizations. Recognizing the need for accelerated change in organizations as well as society at large, this book presents scholars with a framework for establishing a mindset for sustainability to foster much-needed transformative leadership.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction
In the present global, interconnected, and interdependent world where climate change, human rights violations, and inequalities are daily occurrences, transformative leaders with a new mindset are needed and can succeed.
Isabel Rimanoczy, Aixa A. Ritz
13. Correction to: Sustainability Mindset and Transformative Leadership
Aixa A. Ritz, Isabel Rimanoczy

Sustainability and Leadership in Organizational Operations

Chapter 2. Addressing Sustainability Challenges Through Supply Chain Managers’ Transformative Leadership Behavior
Sustainability concerns are far beyond individual action of the organizations or even countries. Instead, global supply chains have demonstrated their potential as powerful networks of integration, connecting the most important economic activities in the world. Nevertheless, supply chains have to rely on their leaders to achieve a proper performance, so adding a sustainability perspective on these leaders will drive to the incorporation of sustainability practices alongside supply chains at each stage and process. This chapter aims to highlight the importance of adopting a sustainability mindset for supply chains’ leaders, in order to fulfill stakeholders’ expectations regarding social concerns, environmental detriment, and economic welfare. Moreover, we discuss how a transformative leadership would be achieved, by thinking ahead of traditional supply chains’ measures such as price, quality, and speed, finding important insights from real examples. Beyond businesses and supply chain leaders, we also address the need to address sustainability issues in a systems perspective, in which we highlight the crucial role of teaching and learning.
Morgane Fritz, Miguel Cordova
Chapter 3. Strategic Leadership and the Culture for Sustainability
Sustainability mindset requires a very specific type of responsible leadership; one that is able to create the adequate atmosphere for fostering a culture of sustainability within the organization. The different Business Schools, perspectives, and approaches regarding strategic leadership and culture have followed different approaches and methodologies to address the studies carried out to date. The authors have thought it opportune to review them in order to visualize the authors’ approaches; at the same time, set out the importance of considering the new trend that incorporates culture and strategic vision into the perspectives and studies to be carried out in the future.
In this work, the authors want to propose a specific type of leader of the future, in order to create the necessary conditions to achieve a change in mentality towards sustainability in an organization, with the participation of all its members, creating a sustainable culture and awareness of new ways of running companies that are the best for the world.
Consuelo Garcia de la Torre, Osmar Arandia Perez
Chapter 4. Sustainable Development Goals as a Factor in Organizational Competitiveness and the Role of Sustainability Leadership: A Conceptual Model
This chapter proposes a theoretical discussion on organizational competitiveness, sustainable development, and leadership. We argue that sustainable development is grounded on sustainability leadership and that organizational values, innovation, and social capital determine sustainable development as a factor of competitiveness. Competitiveness is considered in this study as the ability of organizations to formulate and implement strategies that enable them to expand and maintain, long term, a sustainable advantage position in the Market (Hughes, in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 1987) It is argued that this definition of competitiveness is possible only in the face of a long-lived economic, natural, and social environment (Banerjee, in Australian Journal of Management, 27: 105–117, 2002). To implement this idea, it is essential to have leaders with values directed toward sustainability. The contributions of this proposal are to provide a means for organizations to consider the orientation toward sustainable development in their strategy, becoming a factor of competitiveness.
Marta Fabiano Sambiase, Eliane Pereira Zamith Brito, Claudine Brunnquell

Enhancing Leadership Competencies

Chapter 5. The Prosocial Leadership Development Process and Its Applications to Business and Education
This chapter explores motivations organizations have for sustainability, seeks to delineate the recent emergence of positive leadership theories and their contribution to prosocial centered leadership. Specifically, the chapter discusses (Ewest, Prosocial leadership: Understanding the development of prosocial behavior within leaders and their organizational settings, Springer, 2017) Prosocial Leadership Development process, which can be appended to numerous existing positive leadership theories, as a means to describe and guide a leader’s prosocial leadership development. The four-stage model is intuitive, yet based on extensive research. These four stages of the Prosocial Leadership Development Process include: (1) antecedent awareness and empathic concern, (2) community and group commitment, (3) courage and action and (4) reflection and growth. Finally, the chapter resolves by discussing two applications of the Prosocial Leadership Development process. The first application considers Prosocial Leadership Development within leaders of small to medium enterprises (SME), endeavoring to determine to what degree the prosocial leadership development model is representative of the identified four-stage model. The research on SME leaders of social enterprises determined a fifth stage. Secondarily, the Prosocial Leadership Development Process is compared to theoretical pedagogical strategies for cultivating social justice awareness and actions within the lives of students (Ewest, 2018).
Timothy Ewest
Chapter 6. Anthropocene and the Call for Leaders with a New Mindset
The problem I will be addressing in this chapter is the new context in which business operates—the Anthropocene era—and its implications for, and demands on, leaders. A decade ago the surveys about awareness of sustainability and the importance of CSR provided mixed results: organizational leaders were slowly acknowledging its importance but were not yet acting on that understanding. Since then, the context has been changing dramatically, and the economic, social, and environmental circumstances have increasingly impacted business decisions and have caused organizations to re-write their carefully crafted plans. Covid-19 is just one, if the major, such circumstance. As if this were not enough, the voices of a new generation are clamoring for a new way of doing things. They don’t have the answers, but they are loudly requesting review of the operating system of our business and governments, and adjustment to the changed realities. They are calling for solutions and are taking an active role in effecting change. This chapter will address the invisible aspects that anchor current problems and suggest a possible lever of transformation. It is called the Sustainability Mindset. Based on her research over the past decade, the author will share the principles for a sustainability mindset, which constitute a scaffolding for developing the Thinking and Being dimensions which leaders can utilize to face the Anthropocene’s challenges. These leaders must start shaping the world we want to live in, and which we want to leave for succeeding generations. The main message of this chapter is that once we identify the elements of our mindset that continue to contribute to existing problems, we will be in a better position to change by developing new ways of acting and being in the world. And importantly, by starting the transformation with self, leaders will, in the words of Mohandas Gandhi‚ have the opportunity to be the change they want to see.
Isabel Rimanoczy
Chapter 7. Sustainability Mindset Through Ethical Leadership and CAMB Competencies
This chapter focuses on ethical leadership and a set of competencies that will contribute to sustainability mindset. Individuals in leadership roles are increasingly required to interact, negotiate, and operate beyond the local borders which makes it imperative for them to be familiar with responsible business practices, business ethics, and national values. Sharma (Competency framework & competency modeling for Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME), 2015a; Round table presentation on Emotional & Social Competencies during PDW on ‘Responsible Management Education in Action: A Competence-Based Approach’, 2015b; Managing for responsibility: A sourcebook for an alternative paradigm, Business Expert Press, 2017) has developed a competency framework and a competency model based on Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) which focuses on competencies that will lead to a sustainability mindset in the present and future managers/leaders. The thought and action on issues related to social responsibility and sustainability have been reinforced by failings of businesses, rising incidents of corruption and corporate frauds, economic meltdown, ecological repercussions of global warming on various geographies, and system failings (Godemann et al. in Journal of Cleaner Production 62:16–23, 2013; Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal 27:218–233, 2014). This has provided the impetus to focus on ethical leadership and cognitive, affective, moral, and behavioural (CAMB) competencies for promoting a sustainability mindset for sustainable development.
Radha R. Sharma, Rupali Pardasani
Chapter 8. Beyond Theoretical Learning: A New Perspective in the Development of Future Leaders’ Sustainability Mindset
Academic projects aimed at improving the economic, social, and or environmental aspects of the community contribute to the development of students’ sustainability mindset when they are involved and engaged in these pedagogical activities. Specifically, extension projects help students interact with other actors, transforming their view of the world, and engaging themselves in practical experiences, thus, shaping their mindset. It is in this scenario that this chapter was developed, since it seeks to analyze how such projects contribute to develop the sustainability mindset of students who engage in them. To do so, a multicase study comprising five extension projects developed by a Brazilian higher education institution toward contributing to the social and environmental dimension of the community was held. Data were collected from public documents and were analyzed from the ‘thinking’ ‘being’ and ‘doing’ dimensions of the ecological worldview and the systems perspective of the sustainability mindset model. The results showed that extension projects are relevant ways to engage students in practical learning experiences, as they help them develop their sense of interconnection with other stakeholders is developed, their sense of place, their engagement with the community, and their role as agents who can help preserve the environment and make it a better place.
Ananda Silva Singh, Eduardo De-Carli, Vivien Mariane Massaneiro Kaniak, Darly Fernando Andrade
Chapter 9. Developing the Sustainability Mindset and Leadership
While much of the recent management literature supports teaching sustainability, little of it demonstrates the effectiveness of assignments in building a sustainability mindset. This chapter provides an illustration of how three business schools have effectively embedded assignments that encompass practical sustainability issues to act as catalysts in developing a sustainability mindset within students. Gustavson School of Business, Nottingham Business School, and Seattle Pacific University School of Business demonstrate that designing and embedding assignments that incorporate three distinct dimensions of thinking, being, and doing promotes increased emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and intellectual curiosity to students’ personal sustainability orientation. The three business schools utilize three different assignments to promote reflective practices and encourage transformational learning. The longer-term aim of these reflective assignments is to increase student awareness, which will drive behavioural changes into their everyday routines. The combination of increased awareness and behavioural change encourages a more responsible mindset, so that students can be more influential in promoting sustainable actions throughout their careers. The chapter ends with a list of questions that can be used with students by educators and coaches to increase reflective practices within their teaching.
Heather Ranson, Kimberly Sawers, Rachel Welton
Chapter 10. Connective Leadership and Sustainable Development
No time like the present to emphasize the need for a new style of leadership, trait, and classical leadership theories are not effective for current global crises. Organizations that achieve goals within the UN SDGs framework will have a competitive advantage over those organizations that do not. Global interdependence and diversity are two present forces that need to be acknowledged by management, in a global environment where interconnectedness is inevitable, leaders need to collaborate, establish networks, care about and for others, be empathetic, and lead by example. Leaders whose decisions are guided by a sustainability mindset know themselves, respect nature, and are aware of the other. The development of a sustainability mindset is transformative learning in action, it allows reframing of one’s meaning-making process to make it more inclusive. Connective leadership allows leaders to understand existence, and successfully deal with interconnectedness and diversity, two forces that cannot be denied and that are present in the contemporary global environment. Connective leaders are empathetic, collaborative, networkers, lifelong learners, and nurture followers; they are transformative. Sustainability mindset and connective leadership are practices that can be learned. In this chapter connective leadership will be introduced and its links to sustainability mindset, UN SDGs, and transformative leadership will be established.
Aixa A. Ritz

Transcendental Leadership Practice

Chapter 11. Sustainable Compassionate Education Leadership in a Global Society
Transformative leadership as practice, is exemplified in teachers/leaders that not only know how to navigate dissonant and adverse waters, but can connect navigation for their students/peoples with arriving at a safe destination. The safe destination is here described as a life lived in compassionate action with a sustainability mindset. Life, compassion, and an authentic sustainability mindset are how one grows, learn, and continue to tell one’s tale in a world full of mystery, hardship, sorrow, and joy. This chapter will look at Mezirow’s transformative learning, a sustainability mindset, and compassion as a means for teachers/leaders to develop a compassionate pedagogy that is beneficial for students/peoples outcomes in alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The life examples of the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn will illustrate compassionate pedagogy in action and how they influenced my life as a college educator.
Michael Lees
Chapter 12. Common Good Mindset: The Public Dimensions of Sustainability
Sustainability is commonly associated with nature and the environment but often not discussed in its economic and social aspects. The public and common good dimensions of sustainability are examined even less in the literature. While the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals included the Peace and Policy dimensions in their formulations along with people, planet, prosperity, and partnership, the common good mindset needs to be further explored to understand the comprehensive nature of sustainability. This study reviews the concept of common good in relation to other dimensions of sustainability and its implications for sustainability mindsets. The common good, which dates back to Aristotle, is central to sustainability and well-being in society because it promotes political justice, public accountability, and civic mindedness to help achieve prosperity and collective happiness (eudaimonia). The common good and public good dimensions of sustainability are examined in light of Aristotle’s paradigms enhanced by the contributions of Jacques Maritain, Elinor Ostrom, and Pope Francis reflecting the Jesuit and Catholic teaching traditions. The common good mindset contributes to our understanding of the sustainability mindset by shifting the paradigm of “me-thinking” to “we-thinking.” The common good paradigm has gone through various evolutionary interpretations which play a key role in today’s debates over sustainable human development, sustainable human security, and a sustainability mindset. These thinkers exemplify some of the essential elements in the common good mindset identified here as core dimensions for developing leadership mindsets for our collective global responsibility and our common sustainable future.
Marco Tavanti, Elizabeth A. Wilp
Sustainability Mindset and Transformative Leadership
Dr. Aixa A. Ritz
Isabel Rimanoczy
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