PDW 02: Organization Studies in the Anthropocene: System Change, Not Climate Change

Zlatko Bodrožić
University of Leeds, United Kingdom
Ana María Peredo
University of Victoria, Canada

Call for Applications

Paul S. Adler, University of Southern California, USA
Bobby Banerjee, City, University of London, United Kingdom
Tima Bansal, Ivey Business School, Canada
Vanessa Bowden, Newcastle Business School, Australia
Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Lund University, Sweden
Rick Delbridge, University of Cardiff, United Kingdom
Helen Etchanchu, Montpellier Business School, France
Marianna Fotaki, Warwick Business School, United Kingdom
Markus Helfen, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
John M. Jermier, University of South Florida, USA
David Levy, University of Massachusetts at Boston, USA
Cristina Neesham, Newcastle University Business School, United Kingdom
Daniel Nyberg, Newcastle Business School, Australia
Martin Parker, Bristol University, United Kingdom
Nicholas Poggioli, University of Michigan, USA
Elke Schüßler, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria
Christopher Wright, University of Sydney, Australia

Please note: This PDW will take place on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, from 09:00 to 13:00 CEST!


The overall goal of this PDW, hosted by the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG) 15: “Organization Studies in the Anthropocene: System Change, Not Climate Change”, is to help the field develop conceptual and methodological tools we need to understand a system level perspective in management and organizational research on the climate emergency. This PDW aims to offer interested junior faculty and doctoral students an opportunity to explore those conceptual and methodological tools.
Recent research results tell us we have only a decade until self-reinforcing feedback loops and cumulative effects bring us to various tipping points in planetary systems and to the eventual collapse of civilizations as we know them (Aengenheyster et al., 2018; IPPC, 2018; Steffen et al., 2018). Moreover, the climate emergency is part of a wider environmental emergency associated with (among other risky and accelerating changes) significant disruption of the nitrogen cycle and massive loss of biodiversity (Steffen et al., 2015).
To date, the bulk of organization and management scholarship on environmental issues has been focused on changes in firm-level and individual-level behavior. Climate change and the other threats to environmental sustainability that we see today certainly pose challenges for individual organizations, and addressing these threats will certainly require changes to individual behavior; but these threats cannot plausibly be overcome by the action of individual organizations and individual actors alone (see similar critiques offered by Banerjee, 2011, 2012; Jermier et al., 2006; Wittneben et al., 2012). These threats require action by governments and supra-national inter-government agencies. Our PDW aims to stimulate scholarship on the challenges and opportunities at that system level.
The environmental crisis is, in this sense, similar to other “grand challenges” whose scale and urgency have pushed numerous thought-leaders in our field to urge us to broaden our focus (Eisenhardt et al., 2016). To understand and respond to the climate emergency, we need to focus on the political-economic-cultural system within which firms and individuals operate, and on how this system can be mobilized to respond to the environmental challenge. Such research will require a broadening of our intellectual resources. Where our field has in the past benefitted from engagement with contiguous disciplines like psychology, economics, and sociology, the environmental crisis demands that we further broaden our vision and engage with environmental philosophy, environmental science, political science, political ecology, public policy, as well as various heterodox schools of political economy.


The PDW will start with a brief introduction to the background and aims of the event, as well as a brief introduction from the organizers, panelist and facilitators. The workshop will be structured in two parts:
Part I (2 hours): Perspectives on System Change
In the first part of the PDW, the workshop will be divided into four 30-minute segments, each addressing one of the themes listed below. For each theme, we have assembled a team of scholars who will help their presenter (listed in italics) develop a 15–20-minute summary of the key issues and competing perspectives relevant to the theme. Each presentation will be followed by a discussion.
  • Theme (1): Theoretical frameworks for understanding the systemic nature of the environmental crisis
    Contributing team: Paul S Adler, Bobby Banerjee, Rick Delbridge, John M. Jermier, Nicholas Poggioli

  • Theme (2): System-level impediments to effective response to the environmental crisis
    Contributing team: Tima Bansal, Zlatko Bodrožić, David Levy, Christoper Wright
  • Theme (3): Alternative systems for a world beyond environmental crisis
    Contributing team: Vanessa Bowden, Markus Helfen, Cristina Neesham, Martin Parker, Ana Maria Peredo

  • Theme (4): Mobilizing for system-level change to address the environmental crisis
    Contributing team: Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Helen Etchanchu, Marianna Fotaki, Daniel Nyberg

Part II (1.5 hours): Paper development
In the second part of the PDW, participants will discuss and receive feedback on their “working papers” in a small-group workshop setting. Working papers can take the form of a proposed project or a draft paper; facilitators will be assigned to appropriate sets of working papers and will lead the discussion of them in small groups. Mentors will be assigned to paper development sessions, ensuring that participants will receive rich and diverse inspirations for their respective projects.


To be considered for the workshop, please submit – via the EGOS website – by April 30, 2021 a single document of application (.doc, .docx or .pdf file) that includes

  • A cover page with full details of name, affiliation, email address, a personal website if that is available.

  • A proposal for a working paper or a draft of the paper itself if you have it available.

  • Please indicate which theme(s) your paper or proposal addresses: (1) Theoretical frameworks for understanding the systemic nature of the environmental crisis; (2) System-level impediments to effective response to the environmental crisis; (3) Alternative systems for a world beyond environmental crisis; and (4) Mobilizing for system-level change to address the environmental crisis.


  • Aengenheyster, M., Feng, Q.Y., van der Ploeg, F., & Dijkstra, H.A. (2018): “The point of no return for climate action: Effects of climate uncertainty and risk tolerance.” Earth System Dynamics, 9 (3), 1085–1095.
  • Banerjee, S.B. (2011): “Embedding Sustainability Across the Organization: A Critical Perspective.” Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10 (4), 719–731.
  • Banerjee, S.B. (2012): “A Climate for Change? Critical Reflections on the Durban United Nations Climate Change Conference.” Organization Studies, 33 (12), 1761–1786.
  • Eisenhardt, K.M., Graebner, M.E., & Sonenshein, S. (2016): “Grand Challenges and Inductive Methods: Rigor without Rigor Mortis.” Academy of Management Journal, 59 (4), 1113–1123.
  • IPCC (2018): Global Warming of 1.5 °C. An IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/
  • Jermier, J.M., Forbes, L.C., Benn, S., & Orsato, R. (2006): “The new corporate environmentalism and green politics.” In: S. Clegg, C. Hardy, T. Lawrence & W. Nord (eds.): Handbook of Organizational Studies. London: SAGE Publications, 618–650.
  • Steffen, W., Hughes, L., & Pearce, A. (2015): Climate Change 2015: Growing Risks, Critical Choices. Climate Council of Australia; https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/climate-change-2015-growing-risks-critical-choices/
  • Steffen, W. et al. (2018): “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115 (33), 8252–8259.
  • Wittneben, B.B.F., Okereke, C., Banerjee, S.B., & Levy, D.L. (2012): “Climate Change and the Emergence of New Organizational Landscapes.” Organization Studies, 33 (11), 1431–1450.
Zlatko Bodrožić is a Lecturer in Technology, Organization and Sustainability, and co-leader of the LESS research group on system-level sustainability at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. He is interested in the evolution of technologies, management models, organizational paradigms and the political-economic system (see, for example, ‘Administrative Science Quarterly’, March 2018). His current research focuses on the evolution of these spheres in the era of digital transformation and climate change. Zlatko is one of the co-coordinators of the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG) 15 on “Organization Studies in the Anthropocene: System Change, Not Climate Change”.
Ana María Peredo is Professor of Political Ecology at the University of Victoria, Canada. Her research focuses on community alternatives, social economy, social justice and participatory action research, particularly among Indigenous people and disadvantaged communities. She has published in the areas of community-based entrepreneurship, poverty alleviation, commons and resistance movements. Her work appeared in journals such as the ‘Academy of Management Review’, ‘Journal of Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice’, ‘Organization’, ‘Journal of Business Venturing’, ‘Journal of World Business’, ‘Journal of Management Education’, among others. In 2020, she co-edited two special issues, one for the ‘Journal of Business Ethics’ (“The Ethics of the Commons”) and the other for ‘Organization’ (“Theoretical Perspectives on Organizations and Organizing in a Post-Growth Era”). Ana Maria is one of the co-coordinators of the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG) 15 on “Organization Studies in the Anthropocene: System Change, Not Climate Change”.