PDW 06 – Organization Studies in the Anthropocene: Mobilizing for System-Level Change to Address the Environmental Crisis

Paul S. Adler
University of Southern California, USA
Zlatko Bodrožić
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

Call for Applications

Pilar Acosta, École Polytechnique, France
Paul S. Adler, University of Southern California, USA
Steffen Boehm, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
David Murillo, ESADE, Spain
Cristina Neesham, Newcastle University Business School, United Kingdom
Daniel Nyberg, University of Queensland, Australia
Mario Pansera, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
Ana Maria Peredo, University of Ottawa, Canada


This PDW – which will only be taking place be in-person/onsite – is part of a program of activities organized by the EGOS Standing Working Group (SWG) 15 on “Organization Studies in the Anthropocene: System Change, Not Climate Change”. The PDW aims to help scholars develop the conceptual and methodological tools we need to understand the system-level challenges posed to business and society by climate change and other environmental crises of the Anthropocene. Papers that are more developed fit better in the SWG’s sub-theme program: this PDW aims to help scholars with papers and research projects at a less advanced stage.
The PDW welcomes scholars at any career stage – doctoral students and junior and senior faculty – who want to discuss their project ideas with other scholars and the faculty we have recruited to serve as “mentors.”
The rationale for SWG 15 and its PDW 06 in 2024 can be summarized in four points:

  1. 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 the eventual collapse of civilizations as we know them (Aengenheyster et al., 2018; IPPC, 2018; Steffen et al., 2015a). Moreover, climate change is part of a wider environmental crisis associated with (among other risky and accelerating changes) significant disruption of the nitrogen cycle and massive loss of biodiversity (Steffen et al., 2015b).
  2. To date, most organization and management scholarship on environmental issues has 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 require changes to individual behaviour. However, the climate change emergency 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). We need action by governments and supra-national inter-government agencies. And we will need social movements capable of driving that action. Our SWG aims to stimulate scholarship on the challenges and opportunities at that system level.
  3. To understand and respond to the climate crisis, we need to focus on the political- economic-cultural system within which firms and individuals operate – on how this system can be mobilized to respond to the environmental challenge, on the impediments to such a mobilization, and how these impediments can be overcome. 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 science, political science, political ecology, public policy, as well as various heterodox schools of political economy.
  4. Our SWG therefore focuses on four interrelated topics: (1) Theoretical Frameworks Capturing the Systemic Nature of the Environmental Crisis; (2) System-Level Impediments to an 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.

This year, while we will accept papers for our PDW 06 on any these four topics, we encourage papers that explore topic (4): Mobilizing for System-Level Change to Address the Environmental Crisis.

  • The most vocal voices demanding a system-level response to the environmental crisis are not political leaders and governments, but social and political movements. We need to understand better the organization and dynamic of these movements, their demands, and how they interact with each other, as well as with industries and government, to advance their causes (see Soule & King, 2008; de Bakker et al., 2013; Martínez-Alier et al., 2014; Temper et al., 2015).

  • At the same time, we need to explore how other civil society actors, such as the scientific community, can push for a more adequate response to climate change. We also need to consider which ontologies can facilitate imagining different human-nature relationships (Banerjee & Arjailes, 2021).

  • A key concern in mobilizing for system-level change is climate justice because climate change has disproportionately harmful impacts on poorer populations, Black and other people of color across the world. Those who have contributed the least to the problem are dying and suffering the most. Thus, political struggles for climate justice must be central to our inquiries on system level changes (Ergene et al., 2021).



This PDW will start with a brief introduction to the background and aims of the event by the organizers and introductions of mentors and participants.
We will then have two successive rounds of small-group discussion, where each participant will be teamed up with two others and a mentor to explore how their project could be advanced.
The following segment will have some mentors on a panel reflecting on the main themes that emerged in their discussions. The discussion will then broaden to the whole group.


To be considered for the workshop, please submit – via the EGOS website – by April 30, 2024 a single application (.docx or .pdf file) that includes

  • A cover page with full details of name, affiliation, email address, a personal website, if available: and

  • A synopsis of the paper or project you would like to discuss.



  • Banerjee, S.B., & Arjaliès, D.L. (2021): “Celebrating the End of Enlightenment: Organization Theory in the Age of the Anthropocene and Gaia (and why neither is the solution to our ecological crisis).” Organization Theory, 2 (4); https://doi.org/10.1177/26317877211036714
  • de Bakker, F.G.A., den Hond, F., King, B., & Weber, K. (2013): “Social movements, civil society and corporations: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead.” Organization Studies, 34 (5–6), 573–593.
  • Ergene, S., Banerjee, S.B., & Hoffman, A. (2021): “(Un)Sustainability and organization studies: Towards a radical engagement.” Organization Studies, 42 (8), 1319–1335.
  • Martínez-Alier, J., Anguelovski, I., Bond, P., del Bene, D., Demaria, F., Gerber, J.-F., Greyl, L., Haas, W., Healy, H., Marín-Burgos, V., Ojo, G., Porto, M., Rijnhout, L., Rodríguez-Labajos, B., Spangenberg, J., Temper, L., Warlenius, R., & Yánez, I. (2014): “Between activism and science: Grassroots concepts for sustainability coined by environmental justice organizations.” Journal of Political Ecology, 21 (1), 19–60.
  • Peredo, A.M., McLean, M., & Tremblay, C. (2019): “Indigenous social innovation: What is distinctive? And a research agenda.” In: G. George, T. Baker, P. Tracey & H. Joshi (eds.): Handbook of Inclusive Innovation: The Role of Organizations, Markets and Communities in Social Innovation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 107–128.
  • Temper, L., del Bene, D., & Martínez-Alier, J. (2015): “Mapping frontiers and front lines of global environmental justice: The EJ Atlas.” Journal of Political Ecology, 22 (1), 255–278.
Paul S. Adler is currently the Harold Quinton Chair in Business Policy at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, USA. His research and teaching focus on organization theory and comparative political economy.
Zlatko Bodrožić is a Professor of Digital Enterprise at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom. His current research focuses on the interaction and evolution of technologies, management models, organizational paradigms, and public policy in the era of digital transformation and climate change.