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The article focuses on how climate change may impact the management industry after 2014. Topics include the social impact of ocean acidification and coastal flooding, the transformation of the global economy in response to climate change, and the warnings on climate change issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
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Editor’s note: This editorial is part of a series
written by editors and co-authored with a se-
nior executive, thought leader, or scholar from
a different field, to explore new content areas
and grand challenges with the goal of expand-
ing the scope, interestingness, and relevance of
the work presented in the Academy of Manage-
ment Journal. The principle is to use the editorial
notes as “stage setters” to open up fresh, new
areas of inquiry for management research. GG
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges we
confront in the 21st century. On current trends, by the
end of the century, the warming effect of our green-
house gas emissions will have taken us far away from
pre-industrial climatic conditions. In fact, our climate
will be as different from pre-industrial conditions as
it was when the Earth emerged from the last ice age
some 20,000 years ago. In other words, just over
200 years of human and industrial activity will have
wrought fundamental change to our climate system.
The rise of organizations and industrialized produc-
tion has set us on this path, yet organizations are
equally critical to mitigating and adapting to climate
change. Understanding the science and policy of cli-
mate change, and the ways in which the associated
issues are shaped by and shape the subjects of our
attention, is therefore of great importance to manage-
ment scholars.
Climate change is already manifest in changes to
growing seasons, water resources, ocean acidifica-
tion, and coastal flooding. The Earth’s global mean
surface temperature has risen by 0.85°C since the
late 19th century, and is as likely as not to exceed a
4°C rise, relative to the period 1850–1900, by the
century’s end. The corresponding rise in tempera-
ture over tropical continents would be larger, and
the warming over northern, high-latitude conti-
nents some two to three times greater (IPCC, 2013).
Such changes would have far-reaching—though, as
yet, still only partially understood—effects on at-
mospheric circulation, precipitation levels, and ex-
treme weather, impacting just about every aspect of
our lives. It is possible that thresholds (“tipping
points”) in the climate system, such as the release
of methane from melting permafrost, will be
passed, leading to much larger climate changes and
How can changes of such magnitude not be im-
portant for a wide range of organizations in the
private, public, and non-profit sectors? Perhaps it is
just the mismatch between the timescales of busi-
ness and that of the climate that has made it diffi-
cult to grasp what climate change means for
organizations in the future. Or, perhaps it is the
uncertainty that surrounds any projections of our
future climate—an uncertainty arising from the
complexity of the climate system itself, as well as
from our social, political, and economic choices.
Climate change is so pervasive that its causes and
consequences show up at every level of analysis of
interest to organizational scholars. This can be
taken as an opportunity, as it enables scholars to
consider the topic at every scale—from how indi-
viduals evaluate their environmental issue advo-
cacy (Sonenshein, DeCelles, & Dutton, 2014), to
how the staging of international climate confer-
ences shapes (in)action on the issue over time
(Schüßler, Rüling, & Wittneben, 2014).
As climate impacts become more apparent over
the next few decades, they will impinge on the
structure and functioning of our value chains and
industries, the resilience of organizations, individ-
ual work patterns and practices, and the social
orders and broader governance systems upon which
organizations rely. In other words, climate change
and responses to it will fundamentally reshape
many of the phenomena, interactions, and relation-
ships that are of central concern to management
scholars. In this editorial, we offer a brief primer on
the science and implications of climate change,
before exploring some avenues for research and
engagement on these essential issues.
In its 4.5 billion-year history, the Earth has gone
through dramatic changes, with periods when the
poles were ice-free and others when ice sheets
reached the tropics (Pierrehumbert, 2010). Even in
Academy of Management Journal
2014, Vol. 57, No. 3, 615–623.
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the Ice Age of the past million years, there have
been changes over a hundred thousand years from
interglacial to glacial periods in which the ice
sheets advanced over North America and north-
west Europe, and back again to an interglacial pe-
riod as at present. However, human societies have
evolved in the last 10,000 years in an unusually
stable climate. Certainly there has been variability,
particularly on a regional scale, but, at the global
scale, we have developed—indeed, thrived—dur-
ing a temporal island of climatic stability.
The Earth’s climate depends fundamentally on the
difference between the amount of solar energy flow-
ing into the Earth minus the amount of energy leaving
in the form of infrared radiation. In equilibrium, the
infrared (heat) radiation emitted from the Earth ex-
actly balances the absorbed solar energy. If there were
no atmosphere, this would happen when the Earth’s
surface was at an average temperature of 18°C, as-
suming that the same proportion of solar radiation is
reflected. Fortunately, the water vapor and other
greenhouse gases within the atmosphere trap some
infrared radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface,
warming the atmosphere until a new energy balance
is achieved. The analogy of a “greenhouse” is used to
label this effect. The natural greenhouse effect in-
creases the Earth’s surface temperature by some 33°C,
making the planet habitable.
The atmospheric concentration of major green-
house gases such as carbon dioxide and methane has
changed, and continues to change over time, with a
strong effect on the Earth’s energy balance. These
changes have been due both to natural processes and,
more recently and dramatically, the explosion in hu-
man activity. The burning of fossil fuels and changes
in land use contribute particularly, but not exclu-
to increases in concentrations of carbon diox-
ide and methane to levels unseen in at least the last
The “Summary for Policy Makers” produced by
Working Group I as part of the Fifth Assessment Report
(AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
gives more details (IPCC, 2013).
Variations of Deuterium (
D) in Antarctic Ice, a Proxy for Local Temperature, and the Atmospheric
Concentrations of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO
), methane (CH
), and Nitrous Oxide (N
O) in
Air Trapped within the Ice Cores and from Recent Atmospheric Measurements. Data Cover 650,000 Years;
Shaded Vertical Bands Indicate Current and Previous Interglacial Warm Periods. (Adapted from
Figure 6.3, IPCC, 2007.)
616 JuneAcademy of Management Journal
800,000 years (see Figure 1, which indicates the sharp
upturn in greenhouse gas concentrations on the right-
hand side). Increased levels of atmospheric green-
house gases enhance the trapping of the infrared ra-
diation emitted by the Earth and therefore produce
extra warming, with the rate of warming determined
by the absorption of heat by the oceans. While the
effects of natural climate variability will still play a
major role in our weather over the next few decades,
the trend from human-induced climate change will
increasingly assert itself through the century and take
us into climatically uncharted territory. As a recent
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
report warned, the increasing magnitudes of warming
exacerbate the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and
irreversible impacts (IPCC, 2014a).
Whereas the science of climate change reflects lon-
ger time horizons, the effects of climate change are
already being felt. Most reported impacts so far are
due to warming and/or changes in precipitation pat-
terns, with emerging evidence of the impacts of ocean
acidification. We are seeing change in species’ ranges
and seasonal activities and changes to hydrological
systems, affecting water resources and quality. Nega-
tive impacts of climate change on crop yields have
been more common than positive impacts. The
World Meteorological Organization (WMO, 2014) re-
ports that 13 of the 14 warmest years on record have
all occurred in the 21st century (the exception is the
strong El Nino year, 1998). The European “mega heat
waves” in 2003 and 2010 caused thousands of deaths
and large-scale crop losses (Barriopedro, Fischer,
Luterbacher, Trigo, & García-Herrera, 2011). Such
events are expected to become more frequent, while
the increasing intensity of rainfall and rising sea lev-
els will heighten risks from flooding.
Current efforts to limit the risks of climate change
take place under the 1992 UN Framework Conven-
tion on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its associ-
ated Kyoto Protocol. In addition to the usual prob-
lems of collective action and free-riders that make
effective international climate action difficult, the
UNFCCC also built in a sharp distinction between
the responsibilities and roles of developed and de-
veloping countries,
which now has to be reinter-
preted in the light of the subsequent transformation
of the global economy. The Copenhagen Accord in
2009 was a breakthrough in this regard, with devel-
oping economies (e.g., China and India) making
national commitments to reduce their emissions
intensity (not, as yet, their absolute emissions) in
the period up to 2020 alongside pledges to reduce
the level of emissions in major developed econo-
mies, including the United States. For the period
beyond 2020, governments agreed, at the 2011 Dur-
ban climate summit, to draw up the blueprint for a
fresh, universal agreement “with legal force” that
should be agreed at the Paris summit in 2015. How-
ever, progress has so far been slow and political
traction limited. Whatever finally emerges will be
firmly rooted in the post-Copenhagen world, where
national emission-reduction pledges beyond 2020
are carefully calibrated on those offered by others.
Whether this will deliver the scale of emissions
reductions required by the policy targets currently
under discussion remains to be seen.
There is already widespread action at a national
and sub-national level, albeit at an early stage in
many countries. In 2012, 67% of global greenhouse
gas emissions were subject to national legislation or
strategies, compared to 45% in 2007 (IPCC, 2014b).
Potentially the world’s largest carbon market,
China, launched seven pilot emissions trading
schemes at a provincial and municipal level in
2013. The United Kingdom has in place a compre-
hensive framework of legally binding, rolling car-
bon budgets to meet its commitment in law to re-
duce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% in
2050 from 1990 levels.
In contrast, a number of countries face significant
domestic political constraints. For example, the
U.S. President’s climate change action plan—to de-
liver a 17% emissions reduction by 2020 on 2005
levels—has to be delivered through existing regu-
latory powers, following the failure of efforts to
establish a federal emissions trading scheme. In the
European Union, a combination of structural eco-
nomic problems and concerns over the competi-
tiveness of energy-intensive business and energy
costs for household consumers has raised questions
about whether it is willing to continue taking a lead
on tackling climate change.
In the absence of determined, international mit-
igation action, new leaders and initiatives have
emerged, and no doubt will continue to do so in
response to increasing risks and new opportunities.
For example, members of the C40 group of global
megacities are already acting locally and collabora-
The UNFCCC emphasized “common but differenti-
ated responsibilities,” whereby developed economies
were to take the lead in combating climate change.
2014 617Howard-Grenville, Buckle, Hoskins, and George
tively. Global firms such as Unilever are taking a
visible role in addressing a range of sustainability
issues, including climate change. Instead of single
carbon price guiding actions, organizations are now
facing an increasingly complex operating environ-
ment, with hard-to-understand implications for
their future strategy, location, and profitability. The
sheer proliferation of initiatives at different geo-
graphic, societal, and governmental levels with
varying regulatory frameworks is one of the pres-
sures leading some organizations to push for com-
prehensive national- and regional-level climate
policy. The policy uncertainty may, in many cases,
be of greater concern than uncertainties over future
climate projections.
So, what should we do? We need to adapt to the
changes already in train by building in resilience to
all aspects of economic and social activity, and by
learning how to cope with unprecedented levels of
uncertainty and a rapid pace of change. We also
need urgently to find a way to limit the risks
through substantial and sustained mitigation action
that will reduce emissions radically—by 35–75%
globally by 2050 from 1990 levels—if we are to
limit warming to the 2°C target that is the current
focus of international negotiations. Private, public,
and not-for-profit organizations will need to engage
a suite of approaches under the broad banners of
adaptation and mitigation to cope with the impli-
cations of climate change.
We highlight four broad implications of climate
change to illustrate how this issue poses pressing
and important questions for management and or-
ganizational scholars. These are neither exhaustive
nor exclusive, but are meant to illustrate a wide
range of questions ripe for study, across the typical
levels of analysis and within the range of method-
ologies that management scholars employ.
First, climate change will reshape value chains,
including supply networks, production arrange-
ments, and the provision of energy and water. Man-
agement scholars can study how governance, coor-
dination, and risk-mitigation arrangements can
anticipate and respond. Second, while it is almost a
cliché to speak of the unprecedented change to-
day’s organizations face, the types of change to
which they must respond due to climate change are
truly without precedent. Such changes demand
new approaches to decision making, forecasting/
planning, and organizational adaptation. Third, cli-
mate change will alter how we live and work. Cities
will need to become far more resource efficient,
and individual patterns of mobility will no doubt
shift. For organizational scholars, these changes
prompt a rethink of how managers and employees
interact, motivate, and engage one another, and
identify with their employing organizations. Fi-
nally, climate change will have far-reaching im-
pacts on fragile human populations, while forcing
difficult choices upon affluent societies. Govern-
ments will face the challenges of mustering citizen
support for fundamental changes in energy, trans-
portation, and infrastructure, regulating large-scale
carbon sequestration projects, and, perhaps, man-
aging climate migrants. Organizational scholars can
study how business, society, and public entities
mobilize for and navigate these challenges.
Reshaping Value Chains
Part of any response to climate change will in-
volve a shift in the mix of energy sources that
underpin our economy. Fossil fuels—currently
around 80% of global primary energy demand—
will increasingly be replaced by low-carbon sources.
According to the IPCC, renewable energy ac-
counted for just over half of the new electricity
generating capacity added globally in 2012, led by
growth in wind, hydro, and solar power. Such
shifts might also be accompanied by a more distrib-
uted network of energy production and consump-
tion. For example, stand-alone renewable systems
can make a significant difference to the lives of the
1.3 billion people without access to electricity in
developing economies (IPCC, 2014b), particularly
where it is uneconomic or difficult to build central-
ized grid systems. Regardless of the mix of energy
sources, we will need to become far more efficient
in our energy consumption. The transportation of
products, components, raw materials, and people is
a major consumer of energy, accounting for about
one-quarter of total energy consumption in a devel-
oped country. Furthermore, transportation dispro-
portionately relies on fossil fuels, as opposed to
other sources of primary energy. This, and the com-
ing changes in land use and agricultural productiv-
ity precipitated by climate change, has already led
some companies to fundamentally rethink their
supply chain, its scale and extent, and their rela-
tionships with primary producers. For example,
the U.K. retailer Sainsbury’s has made a series of
“2020” sustainability commitments covering en-
618 JuneAcademy of Management Journal
vironmental performance of suppliers as well as
reducing the company’s absolute operational emis-
sions of greenhouse gases by 30% by 2020 relative
to 2005.
As organizations work to improve their energy
efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint, large-
scale changes are likely in the geography and func-
tioning of production systems. Rather than moving
raw materials and finished goods long distances,
companies may seek to produce closer to the point
of consumption, for example. The currently popu-
lar move towards locally grown foods is only one
early manifestation of what could become more
widespread. Technologies such as 3D printing are
making possible the production of quite sophisti-
cated goods and components in customizable,
small batches, close to the points of consumption
or assembly. For example, aircraft manufacturers
Airbus and Boeing are using it to improve the per-
formance of their aircraft and reduce maintenance
and fuel costs. And, companies can exploit the
“waste” or by-product of others’ processes, or use
the recovery of end-of-life products, to replace vir-
gin raw materials in the production of goods. “In-
dustrial symbiosis” and related concepts such as
the “circular economy” encourage organizations to
recover and reuse energy, water, and materials,
mimicking natural ecosystems. The longest-lived
industrial symbiosis is found in Kalundborg, Den-
mark, where exchanges of excess heat, steam, and
material resources have occurred between organi-
zations since the early 1970s.
Organizational scholars can study how such shifts
in organizational supply networks alter interorgan-
izational relationships, contracting, and risk-miti-
gation approaches. For example, how might the
sourcing of “waste” material as an input alter tra-
ditional supply arrangements? Will boundaries of
the firm, the nature of the firm’s “industry” affilia-
tions, and even organizational identities shift? How
will localized provision of services often provided
at scale by public entities (energy, water) shift the
balance of power in interorganizational relation-
ships, and how will firms be forced to respond if
they can no longer expect high-quality, highly reli-
able, centralized provision of such resources? Will
organizations adopt new models of engagement with
suppliers to cope with shifts in supply conditions?
Scholars need not think of climate change-in-
duced shifts as impacting only those organizations
that produce or are heavy users of energy. Indeed,
part of the response to the need for radical effi-
ciency increases may be new markets for services.
The market for certain goods—cars, for example—
may be supplanted by a market for services (mobil-
ity) in which new market actors (car-sharing compa-
nies, not automobile manufacturers and retailers) will
dominate. To what extent will such changes precip-
itate new organizational forms, or new types of net-
works and alliances (e.g., between car-sharing ser-
vices and providers of electricity)? How will such
changes show up in the ways that firms interact with
consumers and portray the value of their services?
How will information technologies enter into and
become central to the provision of such services?
Organizational Resilience and Adaptation
With climate change comes much more than
shifts in energy production and consumption: it
will require fundamental changes to how we use
the land and water in many regions. Some organi-
zational responses are already discernable. For ex-
ample, Coca-Cola has committed to “water neutral-
ity” at the local level across its globally distributed
production facilities, aiming by 2020 to return to
communities or nature the amount of water used in
product and production. Cities with considerable
populations near sea level are bolstering their de-
fenses against extreme weather—for example, New
York City’s Public Service Commission is requiring
the electric utility serving the city to upgrade to the
tune of $1 billion to prevent damage from future
Many responses to climate change will be
much more difficult to manage, because the in-
formation available to organizations may well not
support the kinds of decisions, made on the ap-
propriate time frames, for prudent action. Spe-
cific impacts, in specific times and places, will be
hard to predict. High uncertainty in outcomes
will drive high volatility in operating conditions,
challenging current approaches for managing risk
and making decisions.
Ways of organizing that foreground resilience
and responsiveness (Whiteman & Cooper, 2000,
2011), rather than scale or growth, will gain fur-
ther attention. Organizational scholars have only
infrequently probed the nature of organizational
resilience, sometimes in the face of extreme
events, but more by looking at high-reliability
organizations. There is opportunity to develop
theory on what adaptation and resilience looks
like under the assumption of significant disrup-
tion to “business as usual.” Because the climate
is a non-linear system and its specific influences
2014 619Howard-Grenville, Buckle, Hoskins, and George
at a given time and place are largely unpredict-
able, proactive adaptability, as opposed to punc-
tuated reactive change, may become a “new nor-
mal” for organizations. The limited predictive
capabilities that are developed for climate change
will have to be used with understanding of their
(at best) probabilistic nature.
A second area where climate change will usher
in significant change at the organizational level is
in the development of technologies. A fundamental
alteration in energy provision infrastructure, while
not unprecedented in our history—which has seen
the development of mass electrification, the rise of
the automobile, and, most recently, the near-ubiq-
uitous use of information technology—nonetheless
shifts the playing field for existing and emerging
organizations. Opportunities for entrepreneurship
abound, evidenced in the staggering rise of “clean
tech” companies and funding in recent years (clean
technologies investment worldwide topped $8 bil-
lion in 2008, up by a factor of ten from only
six years earlier). Equally important are opportuni-
ties for social entrepreneurship to address the chal-
lenges faced by the world’s vulnerable societies
while seeking environmentally favorable solutions
for the provision of clean water, clean energy, com-
munications, and mobility infrastructure. One ex-
ample is TERI’s “Lighting a Billion Lives” initiative
that aims to provide poor Indian households with
solar lanterns, each of which in its life of 10 years
should replace about 500600 liters of kerosene,
mitigating about 1.5 tons of CO
emissions. The
scheme is operated and managed by a local entre-
preneur trained under the initiative who rents the
solar lamps at an affordable rate to households in
un-electrified or poorly electrified villages.
Organizational scholars can rethink our under-
standing of innovation and technology develop-
ment and diffusion. Do new constraints posed by
climate change alter current models? How do we
anticipate and manage the uncertainty posed for
organizations as a result of large-scale change in
both the conditions in which organizations must
operate and the underlying technologies available?
Will new forms of partnership arise out of the need
to simultaneously dismantle existing infrastructure
while building new elements? How will public en-
tities, private organizations, and the not-for-profit
sector develop collaborations to address the social,
economic, and environmental needs that arise
through this transition?
Shifts in Work and Life
Climate change, coupled with increasing urban-
ization, will demand that cities become more re-
source efficient, which might fundamentally alter
where, and, to some degree, how, individuals live,
work, and move about. Just as telecommuting was a
response to traffic congestion and work–life bal-
ance concerns of the 1990s, so will responses to
climate change likely prompt related shifts in how
work is distributed, how employees interact with
one another, and how physical assets are used by
organizations. The efficient use of energy and other
resources may lead to decentralization and de-syn-
chronization of activity (e.g., encouraging employ-
ees to work remotely, avoiding transportation, or to
work at “off-peak” hours). At the same time, pro-
duction of some goods currently shipped long dis-
tances may become localized around population
centers, leading to a modified distribution of eco-
nomic activity. Employees might find their skills
exercised in new patterns of time and space, and
may also find that new skills are in demand—from
“hard” skills to develop technologies and infra-
structures to “soft” skills that enable them to commu-
nicate and collaborate under new circumstances,
akin to but undoubtedly altered from those required
in the digital age.
These issues are often described as relevant only
to developed economy employees. However, the
vast number of people who live and work in devel-
oping nations, where, increasingly, pressures will
be placed on development using clean energy tech-
nologies and greater resource efficiency may re-
quire a radical rethink of employment practices,
human resource management, coordination of dis-
tributed work, and location choices for businesses.
Shifts in organizational choices for production and
consumption are likely to have debilitating effects
on relatively unskilled workforces across the
world. Many trends such as economic growth, ur-
banization, and demographic transitions in devel-
oping countries will have significant effects on the
nature and distribution of employment, but changes
in response to climate change may well exacerbate
some of these.
Organizational scholars are already beginning to
explore how employees value their organization’s
sustainability commitments that broadly address
both environmental and social needs. Forward-
looking organizations may find they are able to
attract, retain, and motivate employees by making
their commitments to “doing good” deeper and
620 JuneAcademy of Management Journal
more transparent. As climate change is a ubiqui-
tous issue, touching all employees in their personal
lives (e.g., through rising food prices, due to crop
disruptions, or opportunities to alter transportation
modes), organizations may find considerable reso-
nance and engagement from their employees in
support of efforts to address climate change. Orga-
nizational scholars might explore whether moti-
vation, commitment, identification, or pro-social
behaviors are differently manifested when issues
such as climate change are confronted by an or-
Other questions ripe for study include how
organizational responses to climate change shape
employee and managerial behavior. Do altered
patterns of mobility, co-presence, and communi-
cation change collaboration, creativity, or pro-
ductivity? How do managers lead and motivate
employees under altered conditions? In the de-
veloping world, how might climate change alter
work conditions and worker mobility? Will the
inevitable impacts of climate change on health
and disease become a significant factor in how
organizations structure their relationships with
employees, and the types of benefits they are
called on to provide?
Societal Shifts
At the societal level, climate change will usher in
infrastructure changes that anticipate and respond
to changing conditions, as well as less predictable
exposures to extreme events. Each of these will
place burdens on society to adapt and respond. In
the case of infrastructure changes, giving members
of the public voice and addressing community con-
cerns is already regarded as important—but likely
underutilized—for developments such as onshore
wind turbines. Even more challenging questions
will be posed in decades to come. For example,
what are appropriate measures and locations for
geological carbon sequestration, the injection of
deep into the ground? How should we balance
the demand for land, water, and other resources to
grow crops for fuel versus food? How can we use
“big data” and new communication technologies to
inform, encourage participatory approaches to, and
manage large-scale adaptation? How should the
ownership and governance of such data be struc-
tured to best to deliver social and not just private
value? How do we weigh and allocate responsibil-
ity for effects felt far from their sources?
Extreme events pose further challenges for soci-
eties. How should the industrialized world assist
expected “climate migrants” displaced from their
homes and livelihoods by rising sea levels, persis-
tent drought, or devastating storms? Low-lying
Bangladesh, home to more than 155 million people,
is already vulnerable to the effects of increased
intensity of flood, cyclone, and storm surge, and
salinity intrusion. How much worse will the situa-
tion be in 2050? Although extreme weather events
and climatic shifts will not discriminate between
richer and poorer nations, those worse off will, in
many cases, be the most vulnerable and least able
to adapt. This will create challenges for mobilizing,
organizing, and coordinating large-scale change.
There challenges also hold opportunity to funda-
mentally rethink risk frameworks and how private
and public entities work to manage and miti-
gate risk.
Organizational scholars have long studied the
nature of social change, whether triggered by social
movements, technologies, or shifts in societal val-
ues. Climate change, with its global yet highly dis-
perse and varied impacts, offers opportunity to
extend this work. What new models of social mo-
bilization and change might be occasioned by ef-
forts to respond to or mitigate climate change? How
might civil society and public and private organi-
zations build resilient communities and econo-
mies? To what degree does a response to climate
change demand shifts in cultural or institutional
values or logics, and how will these emerge and
evolve? What role do organizations play in usher-
ing in such changes?
While the intent of this editorial is to offer some
insight into the science and policy of climate
change, and outline potential implications for or-
ganizations and organizational scholars, it is im-
portant to recognize that our scholarly community
is already grappling with a number of these ques-
tions. Recent journals’ special issues focus explic-
For example, a recent study shows that between 12%
and 25% of sulfate pollution in the western United States
originates from production in China for export (Lin et al.,
2014). To an even greater extent, greenhouse gases do not
respect national boundaries.
2014 621Howard-Grenville, Buckle, Hoskins, and George
itly on climate change and organizations, and the
topic has increasingly moved from the fringe to
the mainstream, including the pages of AMJ, over
the past decade and a half. When the IPCC con-
cludes with high evidence and agreement that
“deep cuts in emissions will require a diverse port-
folio of policies, institutions, and technologies as
well as changes in human behavior and consump-
tion patterns” (IPCC, 2014c: 4), this offers an open-
ing for organizational scholars of all interests, and
theoretical and methodological specialties, to en-
gage with this pressing issue. We hope this edito-
rial provides some inspiration on how we might
use our expertise to better understand the chal-
lenges climate change poses to organizations, indi-
viduals, and societies, and we look forward to wel-
coming such work in our editorial process.
Jennifer Howard-Grenville
Lundquist College of Business
University of Oregon
Simon J. Buckle
Grantham Institute for Climate Change
Imperial College London
Brian J. Hoskins
Grantham Institute for Climate Change
Imperial College London
Gerard George
Imperial College Business School
Imperial College London
Barriopedro, D., Fischer, E. M., Luterbacher, J., Trigo,
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Jennifer Howard-Grenville is associate professor of man-
agement at the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of
622 JuneAcademy of Management Journal
Business. She is an associate editor of the Academy of
Management Journal, covering the topics of sustainability,
corporate social responsibility, institutional theory, organiza-
tional identity, organizational adaptation, and social change.
Simon Buckle is the Policy Director at the Grantham
Institute at Imperial College London. He was Pro-Rector
for International Affairs at Imperial (2011–13) and for-
merly was a senior British diplomat. He has a doctorate
in theoretical physics, was appointed a Companion of the
Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 2007, and is
a Fellow of the Institute of Physics.
Sir Brian Hoskins is the chair of the Grantham Institute
for Climate Change at Imperial College London, and
holds a joint appointment with University of Reading,
where he is professor of meteorology. His international
roles have included being vice-chair of the Joint Scien-
tific Committee for the World Climate Research Program,
president of the International Association of Meteorology
and Atmospheric Sciences, and involvement in the 2007
IPCC international climate change assessment. He played
a major part in the 2000 Report by The Royal Commis-
sion on Environmental Pollution and is currently a mem-
ber of the UK Committee on Climate Change. He is a
member of the science academies of the United Kingdom,
USA, China, and Europe and has received a number of
awards, including the top prizes of the U.K. and U.S.
meteorological societies. He was knighted in 2007 for his
services to the environment.
Gerry George is professor of innovation and entrepre-
neurship at Imperial College London and serves as dep-
uty dean of the business school. He is also the editor of
the Academy of Management Journal.
2014 623Howard-Grenville, Buckle, Hoskins, and George
... renewable energy) to radical innovations (e.g. small modular reactors) for climate change adaptation and mitigation (Howard-Grenville et al., 2014). Developing multiple, radical technological solutions (e.g. ...
... geoengineering) on a global scale may provide a more robust understanding of the distant future, including opportunities to envision breakthrough innovations and imagine disruptive alternatives to the status quo (Augustine et al., 2019), but delay immediate action and localized near-term solutions using proven, well-established technologies (Wright et al., 2013). Resistant to "easy fixes" provided by a single organization, grand challenges require a collective, multi-actor process of "distributed experimentation" (Ferraro et al., 2015) and ongoing coordinated and collaborative efforts (Howard-Grenville et al., 2014). ...
... For instance, Flammer (2013) discovered that companies which reported they behaved responsibly toward the environment experience a significant increase in stock price and that the external pressure to behave responsibly toward the environment intensifies the sanctions against eco-harmful behavior. Howard-Grenville et al. (2014) summarized that climate change and responses to it have fundamentally reshaped management practices as well as academics' concerns. ...
... The measure provides for the granting and disbursement of subsidies in favor of investment programs proposed by micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises that comply with the current principles of environmental protection and high technological content, consistent with the Transition 4.0 plan, with priority given to those capable of making a particular contribution to the sustainability objectives defined by the European Union and to those aimed, in particular, encouraging the transition of enterprises towards the circular economy paradigm. Entrepreneurship has been considered a potential solution to big social and environmental challenges such as climate change and social inequalities [176][177][178]. According to recent studies, digital technologies enable the development of novel business models and entrepreneurial opportunities; they can be supportive of tackling the challenges sustainable entrepreneurs face [114,149,[179][180][181]. ...
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Digital innovations and sustainable development are key words in the current agenda of worldwide policy makers. There are high expectations that digitalization will lead the world to more sustainable paths so that accomplishing net zero economies by 2050, as envisaged by policy packages, such as the Agenda 2030 by United Nations, and the European Green Deal by the European Commission. However, the scientific evidence reveals that this result is not taken for granted, and digital transformation may worsen and make more difficult the road to sustainable development whether the use of digital devices targets only economic performance. This chapter reviews the major evidence provided by the scientific literature and introduces how policymakers have been acting to make these two key words complementary to each other.
This study theorizes and empirically tests whether firms' decisions to join multi‐stakeholder initiatives, targeting climate mitigation, lead to improved environmental performance. We focus on firms' participations in the Science Based Targets initiative, a multi‐stakeholder initiative meant to support firms in setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets in line with the thresholds defined by the Paris Agreement in 2015. The study hypothesizes that participation reduces firm's concerns about uncertainty and encourages investments in timeous internal climate change activities. We used the coarsened exact matching methodology to create a matched sample of European and North American listed firms participating in the initiative and comparable, non‐participating firms over a 3‐year period from 2015 to 2017. The results showed that firms' participation led to lower levels of GHG emissions compared to similar non‐participating counterparts, especially when they committed to the initiative with the intention to follow the proposed indications.
The grand environmental challenge of climate change represents one of the key ongoing, long-term obstacles for organizations. When interrupted by short-term exogenous crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and the shock of the Ukrainian war, the urgency of addressing this grand challenge becomes more pressing, albeit more challenging. While family firms as long-term oriented organizations might generally be well equipped to tackle climate change, we know surprisingly little on how they simultaneously experience and navigate the long-term horizon of grand environmental challenges and the short-term pressures of exogenous crises. Drawing on research around long-term orientation (LTO) and a growing stream investigating intertemporal tensions, we investigate this question building on 41 interviews with nine family firms in the context of the European manufacturing industry. Applying an abductive approach, our findings unveil three intertemporal tensions that unfold when short-term and long-term objectives collide. Besides, we show that family firms, due to their LTO, perceive these tensions with a greater intensity. Navigating the perceived tensions, we identify two mechanisms employed by family firms that mitigate the negative implications of LTO. Doing so, we contribute to extant research on grand challenges and cast light on the downsides of LTO in family firms.
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This paper provides a theoretical explanation for the “black box” between “going green” and organizational performance and links individual-level behaviors with organizational-level outcomes. We argue that the adoption of an environmental sustainability strategy and high involvement green human resources management practices will have the intended impact of increasing employee green creativity and the unintended impact of increasing employee general creativity. As well, we suggest that employee green values moderate these relationships. Furthermore, the positive effects on employee creativity (green and general) are theorized to increase organizational innovation, which positively impacts organizational performance. This paper extends the research by providing a possible explanation for how the “black box” between “going green” and organizational performance is impacted by intended and unintended behaviors that are shaped by green human resources management practices.
Due to environmental concerns, businesses are being forced to adopt green human resource management (GHRM) procedures and activities that address climate change. In the association, GHRM has the power to advance green initiatives that result in improved environmental performance and financial success. This study seeks to ascertain whether there is any correlation between the Indian Wellness Administration Association's environmental performance and green human resource management (HRM) practices, such as green recruiting and selection, green training and promotion, and green rewards. We strategically chose to concentrate on a particular subject to lessen the perplexing effects of non-controllable variables in our evaluation study, such as regulatory, cultural, and ethical settings. The findings show that Green HRM is only moderately used in Indian medical clinics; the most secure relationships were recruiting and resolution, while the relationships involving planning and improvement were the weakest. It supports the development of Green HRM and climate assurance, two underdeveloped fields in developing countries like India.
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The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of a set of green human resource management (HRM) practices on sustainable performance in Pakistani higher education institutions (HEIs), while also taking into account the mediating influence of environmental consciousness and green intellectual capital. Furthermore, the study aims to assess the association between environmental consciousness and green intellectual capital, along with the sustainable outcome. The study data was collected from 250 HR managers and executive officers who were responsible for implementing green HRM practices and sustainable performance in the education sector of Pakistan. Smart PLS-4 software was used to perform the statistical analysis of the data. According to the results of this study, green HRM practices play a substantial role in enhancing sustainable performance. The study also identified a link between green HRM practices and sustainable performance via environmental awareness and green intellectual capital. The research contributes to the theoretical paradigm’s social cognitive theory by offering information on green HRM practice bundles and sustainable performance. The research also demonstrates that green intellectual capital and environmental consciousness operate as a bridge between green HRM practices and long-term sustainable performance. The study’s findings have real-world applications for education, policymakers, and human resource managers at the highest levels. In order to achieve sustainable performance, the study emphasizes the significance of developing green intellectual capital and implementing green HRM practices.
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Using a mixed methods design, we examine the role of self-evaluations in influencing support for environmental issues. In Study 1—an inductive, qualitative study—we develop theory about how environmental issue supporters evaluate themselves in a mixed fashion, positively around having assets (self-assets) and negatively around questioning their performance (self-doubts). We explain how these ongoing self-evaluations, which we label “situated self-work,” are shaped by cognitive, relational, and organizational challenges individuals interpret about an issue from a variety of life domains (work, home, or school). In Study 2—an inductive, quantitative, observational study—we derive three profiles of environmental issue supporters' mixed selves (self-affirmers, self-critics, and self-equivocators) and relate these profiles to real issue-supportive behaviors. We empirically validate key constructs from Study 1 and show that even among the most dedicated issue supporters, doubts play an important role in their experiences and may be either enabling or damaging, depending on the composition of their mixed selves. Our research offers a richer view of both how contexts shape social issue support and how individuals' self-evaluations play a meaningful role in understanding the experiences and, ultimately, the issue-supportive behaviors of individuals working on social issues.
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Significance International trade affects global air pollution and transport by redistributing emissions related to production of goods and services and by potentially altering the total amount of global emissions. Here we analyze the trade influences by combining an economic-emission analysis on China’s bilateral trade and atmospheric chemical transport modeling. Our focused analysis on US air quality shows that Chinese air pollution related to production for exports contributes, at a maximum on a daily basis, 12–24% of sulfate pollution over the western United States. The US outsourcing of manufacturing to China might have reduced air quality in the western United States with an improvement in the east, due to the combined effects of changes in emissions and atmospheric transport.
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Although field-configuring events have been highlighted as catalysts of institutional change, we still know little about the specific conditions that allow such change to occur. Based on a longitudinal study of United Nations climate conferences in the context of the transnational climate policy field we analyze how regular and high-stakes events in an event series interacted in producing and preventing institutional change. We uncover variations in event structures, processes and outcomes that explain why climate conferences have not led to effective solutions to combat human-induced global warming. Results in particular highlight that growing field complexity and issue multiplication compromise the change potential of a field-configuring event series in favor of field maintenance. Over time, diverse actors find event participation useful for their own purposes, but their activity disconnects from the institutions at the center of an issue-based field. In discussing how field-configuring events are purposefully staged and enacted, but also influenced by developments in a field our study contributes to a more complete understanding of field-configuring events, particularly in contested transnational policy arenas.
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The summer of 2010 was exceptionally warm in eastern Europe and large parts of Russia. We provide evidence that the anomalous 2010 warmth that caused adverse impacts exceeded the amplitude and spatial extent of the previous hottest summer of 2003. “Mega-heatwaves” such as the 2003 and 2010 events likely broke the 500-year-long seasonal temperature records over approximately 50% of Europe. According to regional multi-model experiments, the probability of a summer experiencing mega-heatwaves will increase by a factor of 5 to 10 within the next 40 years. However, the magnitude of the 2010 event was so extreme that despite this increase, the likelihood of an analog over the same region remains fairly low until the second half of the 21st century.
Karl Weick's classic study of "sensemaking" showed that there is much to be learned from a wildland fire. In this tradition, we present an ethnographic tale from the subarctic to introduce the concept of ecological sensemaking-the process used to make sense of material landscapes and ecological processes. We then reanalyze data from the Mann Gulch fire and conclude that ecological sensemaking and ecological materiality were underappreciated dimensions of this historic tragedy. Comparisons of incidents and actors suggest that ecological embeddedness enables sensemaking and that inability to make sense of subtle ecological cues introduces hidden vulnerability.
The construct of social embeddedness has helped explain some of the ways in which individuals and organizations form and sustain alliances. We introduce the construct of ecological embeddedness, or the extent to which a manager is rooted in the land. Ecological embeddedness is illustrated by an ethnographic study of a Cree tallyman, or beaver trapper, in James Bay, northern Québec. To be ecologically embedded as a manager is to personally identify with the land, to adhere to beliefs of ecological respect, reciprocity, and caretaking, to actively gather ecological information, and to be physically located in the ecosystem. We conclude by drawing some implications for sustainability.
This book introduces the reader to all the basic physical building blocks of climate needed to understand the present and past climate of Earth, the climates of Solar System planets, and the climates of extrasolar planets. These building blocks include thermodynamics, infrared radiative transfer, scattering, surface heat transfer and various processes governing the evolution of atmospheric composition. Nearly four hundred problems are supplied to help consolidate the reader's understanding, and to lead the reader towards original research on planetary climate. This textbook is invaluable for advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate students in atmospheric science, Earth and planetary science, astrobiology, and physics. It also provides a superb reference text for researchers in these subjects, and is very suitable for academic researchers trained in physics or chemistry who wish to rapidly gain enough background to participate in the excitement of the new research opportunities opening in planetary climate.