The Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability (ARIES) recently completed a research project entitled ‘Shifting towards sustainability: An Action Research project on sustainability practices and organisational change’. They summarised their results in terms of six major insights:
- Insight 1: Adopt a clear, shared vision for the future
- Insight 2: Build teams, not just champions
- Insight 3: Use critical thinking and reflection
- Insight 4: Go beyond stakeholder engagement
- Insight 5: Adopt a systemic approach
- Insight 6: Move beyond expecting a linear path to change
In relation to Insight 5, they found that: 'Systems thinking is the answer to this interconnectedness and seeming complexity. By developing your systems thinking skills you can better understand and manage complex situations within and external to your organisation and make long term, successful change for sustainability'. The report is worth looking at for the overview and examples.
It is a pity that many of those managers who impose change on their organisation are not informed by these insights!
For some time the USA has seemed to lag behind the rest of the world in responding to climate change. This is no longer the case in California where approaches to business education are emerging that challenge the whole systemic basis of doing business, and thus business education, in a climate change world. I will be visiting staff of the Green MBA programme at Dominican University in April to work with them and to explore the forms of social transformation they are attempting to facilitiate.