New piece on: How Businesses Manage Tensions in Pursuit of Sustainability


New Piece on How Businesses Manage Tensions in Pursuit of Sustainability

adliTogether with his co-authors Jay Joseph, Helen Borland, and Marc Orlitzky, Adam Lindgreen has published an article in Journal of Business Ethics: “Seeing versus Doing: How Businesses Manage Tensions in Pursuit of Sustainability”.

Management of organizational tensions can facilitate the simultaneous advancement of economic, social, and environmental priorities. The approach is based on managers identifying and managing tensions between the three priorities, by employing one of three strategic responses. Although recent work has provided a theoretical basis for such tension acknowledgment and management, there is a dearth of empirical studies.

The authors interviewed 32 corporate sustainability managers across 25 forestry and wood-products organizations in Australia. Study participants were divided into two groups: (1) those considered effective at corporate sustainability and (2) a status-quo group.

Contrary to current theory, the findings showed that acknowledgment of organizational tensions was widespread in the Australian forestry and wood-products industry and not limited to those managers who are effective at managing corporate sustainability. What differed was the degree to which managers did something about the perceived tensions—with the effective group more consistently acting to manage and resolve paradoxical scenarios.

The findings suggest that existing theoretical constructs of tension management may not adequately capture the individual-level complexity involved with managing tensions in practice.

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The page was last edited by: Department of Marketing // 06/04/2020