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2023 | Buch

Sustainable Management

Coping with the Dilemmas of Resource-Oriented Management

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In the second edition of this book, the concept of resource-based sustainability has once again been expanded to include further references to modern management theories. The author shows that overcoming the dilemmas that sustainability creates for companies and all organizations leads to more complex decisions that also require higher levels of awareness. The concept of sustainable leadership is closely related to the resource approach. Finally, readers will learn how to tell a compelling transformation narrative toward sustainability.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Understanding Sustainability

Frontmatter
1. Sustainability and Society
Abstract
Since the issue of sustainable development is being discussed in politics and science all over the world it can only be outlined very roughly. Important institutions and their perception of sustainability will be sketched and the issue of sustainability in education will be explained. Within all this explanation the newness about the sustainability term remains unclear. Is it still a matter of environmental management and responsible economic behaviour, only in different words?
Georg Müller-Christ
2. Quo Vadis, Environmental Management?
Abstract
Does it result in an equalization of environmental protection or environmental management and sustainability? What would be its use? Environmental protection and environmental management do not develop automatically—even if this was promised 30 years ago. This chapter will show why. The new and provocative thought presented here is being subsumed in the term efficiency trap. This trap is exactly what environmental management will be caught in if it tries to disburden the natural environment by pursuing the concept of eco-efficiency only. There is no sign of sustainability here.
Georg Müller-Christ
3. Quo Vadis, Social Responsibility?
Abstract
Because of the similar title one might expect similar results as in the preceding chapter. Indeed, corporate social responsibility as a term of remedy—appealing to businesses to take responsibility for humans and nature—easily results in a responsibility trap. Society has to bear the multiple side effects caused by the economy and therefore asks for the possibility to attribute the effects to particular causers. However, this is not possible in a world of selected single causes and aggregated general effects. The traditional problem of attribution paradoxically turns into an expansion of attribution. The semantics of responsibility is indeed important for societal institutions but it has rather few points of interaction with the actual sustainability problem
Georg Müller-Christ
4. Sustainability as Economic Rationality
Abstract
The “bilingualismof economics actually originates from forestry. Do not take more wood from the forest than can re-grow, was a rather painful experience of the eighteenth century, when forests were nearly fully cleared. In different words the message is: preserve the substance or the resource base from which economic activity emanates from! But what happens if the substance does not permit the fulfilment of economic objectives? By the way, the preservation of substance or the housekeeping-oriented treatment of natural resources is a necessity much older than the fossil era. Real profit-oriented economic activity was only possible when people realized how to produce high quality products from fossil raw materials. Due to the feigned inexhaustibility of fossil raw materials the original economic language of housekeeping disappeared—what remained is the market-oriented rhetoric of acquisition.
The second part of the book comprises theoretical impulses that could contribute to the required bilingualism or dual thinking of management studies.
Georg Müller-Christ

Theoretical Impulses

Frontmatter
5. A Theory of Management Ecology
Abstract
A housekeeping way of thinking circumscribes the necessity to focus more on the lasting supply of resources. System-theoretic, co-evolutionary and ecological insights show that the maintenance of the resource base of systems is an essential prerequisite for the fulfilment of a system’s end. System-rational behaviour is characterized by the understanding of a system as a part of a household or resource community if it wants to ensure its survival in the long term.
Georg Müller-Christ
6. Dominant Management Rationalities and the Necessary Improvements for a More Sustainable Management
Abstract
Sustainability of housekeeping-oriented thinking as an independent rationality raises the question of the relationship between this rationality and the traditional management rationalities. Exclusive profit-oriented thinking or efficient attainment of ends is not sufficient if a system wants to ensure its existence. This chapter explains in which way the existing management rationalities need to be enhanced (not replaced) in order that businesses are able to establish resource communities with their environments. A lot of explanation is required in order to make clear that the old and the new rationalities may not be reduced to each other, but that they have to stand next to each other on the same level. The essential insight is that efficiency and sustainability are as well independent rationalities which are, however, contradictory.
Georg Müller-Christ
7. Coping with Contradictions as Core Problem of Modern and Sustainability-Oriented Management Studies
Abstract
It is not a completely new challenge for management studies to constructively cope with contradictions. However, not much attention has been paid to it either. If a businesses wants to (or has to) become more sustainable, decision-makers have to be able to identify and to accept contradictions, and they need to have the ability to cope with them by means of adequate measures. The core problem of coping with contradictions is that there are always trade-offs (mutual negative causalities) which make one objective unachievable. This chapter explains this relation and provides concrete design recommendations.
The third part of the book contains considerations on a resource management that does not only refer to an efficient application of resources but also to a sustainable supply of resources.
Georg Müller-Christ

Sustainable Resource Management

Frontmatter
8. The Use of the Term “Resource” in Management Studies
Abstract
The resource term is deeply rooted in management studies. Even today, a lot of research is being conducted on competitive concepts like the resource-based view. This is why the way towards resource-oriented management studies will be explained in detail. It will become clear that the resource term (of both material and immaterial resources) implicitly contains a logic of resource treatment and that it is, in fact, hardly about a sustainable treatment of resources.
Georg Müller-Christ
9. Salutogenesis as Heuristic for Resource-Oriented Management Studies
Abstract
The health perception of health psychology and the concepts of salutogenesis both have parallels with a sustainable management since they have a similar understanding of the resource term. Interesting assumptions on the relationship of material and immaterial resource supply of systems can be derived from the healthpsychological individual resource management. Is it the immaterial resources of a system that secure the access to material resources?
Georg Müller-Christ

Sustainable Leadership

Frontmatter
10. Sustainability and the Wrangling of Decision-Making Premises
Abstract
Doing business means, above all, decision-making. While there is a large and mature body of decision theory in economics, little attention is paid to the specific structures and processes of decisions regarding sustainability and business ethics. These have two main peculiarities that are difficult for conventional decision theory:
1.
Decisions in the context of sustainability and ethics are not primarily conventional choices between two or more alternative actions. Rather, they are initial decisions about a new order of the relevant decision-making premises.
 
2.
If sustainability and ethics can establish themselves as action-guiding decision-making premises, they mostly require now-for-then and now-for-then-for-others decisions. These types of decisions require different consideration processes than traditional now-for-now decisions.
 
This chapter deals with these kinds of decisions. It gives an overview of the system of decision-making premises which plays a role in every corporate decision. In addition, it presents a taxonomy of decision types to help better understand the logic of decisions regarding sustainability and ethics.
Georg Müller-Christ
11. Sustainable Leadership: Strengthening the Resource Competence
Abstract
This chapter summarizes the insights gained in dealing with resources and defines sustainable leadership as the ability to intelligently balance the decision-making premises in dealing with resources. What competencies are needed for this? There has been a lot of literature and long lists of competencies on this for some time. Overall, it seems that mostly the constructive handling of complexity is seen as the main task of a sustainable leader or that sustainable leaders need to have a strong moral awareness. In this chapter, a different view and thus the competencies that can be derived directly from the essence of resource-based sustainability will be addressed.
Georg Müller-Christ
12. Sustainability Check: Getting Started with Systematic Sustainable Management
Abstract
In this chapter, the previous findings of this book are translated into proposals for action. In particular, it addresses the question: how can a company translate the resource-based approach to sustainability into concrete actions? To answer this question, I offer a self-check based on the logic of decision premises. This self-check aims to make visible the current decision-making priorities within each of the company’s fields of action. Based on this priority list, a company can make a systematic plan to increase resource orientation and gradually change their decision-making priorities.
Additionally, a very innovative method of reading complex systems is introduced. System constellations are a new type of system analysis that works with images and enables conclusions to be drawn about companies’ attitudes toward sustainability. Companies are visualized with the help of spatial language, while people represent relevant elements of the system. These three-dimensional images of a system constellation have so far proven to be very robust in terms of their quality of depicting the company.
Georg Müller-Christ
13. Sustainability Management 4.0: An Integral Perspective
Abstract
Eco-efficiency is currently the dominant postulate for a sustainable economy. However, the effect of this postulate is offset by the rebound effects, so that, overall, no significant reduction in resource and energy consumption can be observed. This chapter presents the first ideas of an integral resource management. It builds on the four-quadrant scheme of Ken Wilber (The integral vision, Sage, Boston, 2007) and the concept of Spiral Dynamics. Based on theses concepts, I suggest that only transforming companies from a postmodern to an integral development level will allow the economy to recognize, accept, and manage the contradictions between sustainability and efficiency.
Georg Müller-Christ
14. The Ability to Tell a Transformative Story of Sustainable Development
Abstract
With this chapter, I offer a frame of reference that can be used to get behind the narratives of society, politics, academia, and the media about the transformation to a more sustainable world. By doing so, it also becomes obvious what is just not being told. It is the narratives, deep-seated basic assumptions about sustainability and how transformation could work. We always narrate these basic assumptions or beliefs without disclosing them. My guess is that we cannot manage transformation to a more sustainable economy until we become aware of what beliefs our narratives are based on. This is reflected on the unchanging parts of the narratives.
Georg Müller-Christ
Metadaten
Titel
Sustainable Management
verfasst von
Georg Müller-Christ
Copyright-Jahr
2023
Electronic ISBN
978-3-031-45791-3
Print ISBN
978-3-031-45790-6
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-45791-3