20 - Changing organizational ethics and practices toward climate and environment  pp. 303-318

Changing organizational ethics and practices toward climate and environment

By Keith James, April Smith and Bob Doppelt

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Business organizations play an increasingly important role in the world … Companies that win the public's confidence and trust are open, visible, engaging and create business value while delivering benefits to society and the environment.

William Ford, Chairman and CEO Ford Motor Company

Rapid technological changes, pressures created by globalization, competition, and increasing resource constraints make the management of organizational change a critical issue for organizations of all types. The scientific study of organizational change is an interdisciplinary endeavor and it has grown in step with the practical importance of change to organizations. Only a limited part of the science of change literature has, however, directly addressed how to change organizations in ways that would benefit the natural environment, in general, or the Earth's climate, in particular. Changing organizations to help address climate change is the focus of this chapter.

The force-field model of change

At any given time, any mature organization is in reality an epiphenomenon of a dynamic balance between its connections to the outside world and its internal components, processes, and functions. For any attempted organizational change, there will be internal and external forces that both support the change, and ones that push against it. For a change to occur, therefore, something must move an organization from its current state of balance to a desirable new and relatively sustainable dynamic balance. We will argue that achieving new and environmentally friendly (hereafter “green”) organization states requires broad and deep change in organizations' culture and systems.

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