In this edition of the ONE Times, we asked a diverse group of ONE members from different backgrounds and interests to answer some questions about their experiences. Below we present these responses.
Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Entrepreneurship, King’s College London, United Kingdom
Can you describe your background and what brought you to Academia?
I am from a coastal town in the south of Brazil, Itajai, state of Santa Catarina. I’ve always loved studying, reading, and writing, but before thinking of becoming an academic, I completed an undergraduate degree in social communication and worked in the advertising industry. I was a creative, doing copywriting like Peggy Olson in Mad Men (and like her often the only woman in the creative room). Then three factors converged to bring me to academia. The first is that some clients were asking us to talk about their mandatory environmental improvements as the eighth wonder of the world (AKA greenwashing), and that’s not what I had signed up for. The second is that the problems of some clients went way beyond communication issues, and I felt I had to understand management better. And the third is that I loved studying, and I wanted to study abroad – more specifically in Spain, because I used to dance flamenco. Which of course should bear no influence on my choice of program, let alone the decision to pursue a PhD, but I somehow convinced a European Union scholarship program for Latin American students (AlBan Programme) that this was just the right thing. Then off I went to the University of Seville, where I did my PhD.
What have been some of the key moments/events/people in your career development?
Three moments stand out. The first was attending my first Academy of Management Annual Meeting and joining the ONE Doctoral Consortium, which that year was organized by Heiko Spitzeck, Amelia Clarke and Aarti Sharma. That was a big reality check – I learned most people do not get started on this path in the happy-go-lucky way I did. It was at the same time welcoming, and I found a sense of community in the ONE Division. The second moment was an opportunity that emerged from participating in the ONE Doctoral Consortium – a research visit at Cranfield University, where Heiko worked at the time. Heiko and Professor David Grayson were starting their research on social intrapreneurs, following the publication of a report by John Elkington’s SustainAbility think tank. The report defined a social intrapreneur as “someone who applies the principles of social entrepreneurship inside a major organization”. That became my research passion, and led me to the third moment. The main area of my PhD was strategic management, and I wanted to understand entrepreneurship research better. So I signed up to Tom Lumpkin’s Social Entrepreneurship Doctoral Seminar. This experience was transformative, and led to special co-authorships and friendships.
What does the organizations and environmental (ONE) field mean to you?
It means the possibility of doing research that paves the way for a better way of doing business, one which is not at the expense of society or the natural environment. It also means a form of academic activism, and a community of diverse scholars who share a calling to inform, inspire, and energize the path toward sustainability.
What are you working on at the moment? Why is it exciting do you?
Various projects related to social intrapreneurship, especially in the corporate context. This is exciting because not much has been written on the topic, and because there is a growing movement of organizations supporting social intrapreneurs around the world. This is also exciting because I am increasingly connecting to these organizations, and because of the great co-authors I am collaborating with.
What do you do to get and stay inspired?
I keep in touch with my colleagues within and beyond King’s, and I’m quite fond of #AcademicTwitter. Something I always look forward to are the GRONEN Reading Group meetings, where we help authors with R&Rs in sustainability-related topics (we meet 3 times per year, so keep an eye on my next posts!). It’s great to meet old and new colleagues, and I learn so much from everyone every time I attend. To stay inspired after a rejection, I listen to Hamilton (the musical). Two key lines from different songs are: “I’m not throwing away my shot” and “I’m willing to wait for it” (some material for paradox scholars here). I’d also like to go to the sea, but I can’t. So here’s a picture of the beach I grew up going to (Brava Beach, Itajai, SC, Brazil):
A book, paper, video, essay, or other that inspires you at the moment…
Barnett, M. L. (2019). The business case for corporate social responsibility: A critique and an indirect path forward. Business & Society, 58(1), 167-190. I love the nuance this paper brings to the conversation on the business case for CSR/sustainability, its pragmatic approach, and suggestions to move the debate forward.
What do you like about your job?
Being able to read, write, and connect with people around topics that fascinate me and about which I care deeply; the flexibility in all its facets – right now, I appreciate it as a parent; and the students, who inspire me with their ideas and force me to become a better communicator each year.
What advice do you give Ph.D. students?
Take care of yourself, connect to others, and be nice: look at the person, not the badge. Also, don’t take it personally when this happens to you – we need your energy to make the world a better place.
Associate Dean for Research and Global Engagement; Co-Faculty Director, Moran Center for Global Leadership; Rammrath Chair in International Business; Professor of Management and Operations, Villanova University School of Business, USA.
I was a trade official with the New York State and then U.S. Government, and began teaching as an adjunct at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. I really enjoyed the teaching and was tiring of my work for government. When a teaching position opened up at American University and I was selected, I didn’t look back, beginning my PhD the following year a George Washington.
My advisor Hildy Teegen was key to my ability to work through the PhD and all of the other commitments I had in my life. In addition, a number of senior faculty too numerous to name here were generous with their time, advice, guidance and friendship.
What does the organizations and environmental (ONE) field mean to you?
Among many other things, it offers a connection – a bridge – between the management of organizations and other societal actors and the natural world.
I continue to explore the many ways that business, government, and societal actors such as nongovernmental organizations, can work together to address sustainability challenges.
Get outdoors! I run, hike, cycle, cross-country ski, and kayak, sometimes all in the same day (just kidding).
Currently reading Barak Obama’s biography, A Promised Land. I find him truly inspirational.
Everything, specifically, the autonomy and freedom.
During your PhD, keep your eye on the prize. Once tenured, explore the outer limits and endless possibilities.
Associate Professor of Strategy, Montpellier Business School, France
I have worked in the media industry and advertising before accomplishing a PhD in Strategy at ESSEC Business School, France. I started an academic career because I wanted to better understand how to make CSR/sustainability an integral part of business.
Rather than being constrained within an organization, I looked for more flexibility and creativity to impact organizational practices from the outside. I hesitated between consulting and Academia. I chose Academia because it allows for reflexivity and more profound engagement with organizational and societal phenomena.
I was strongly influenced by my PhD supervisor Marie-Laure Salles-Djelic who shaped my thinking about societal phenomena from a macro-OT lens and who encouraged me in my desire to ask big questions. Then, the launch of OS4future, an academic advocacy movement to act on climate change, has triggered a new dynamic in my career which put me in contact with an inspirational community of scholars who aim at positive impact by pushing traditional academic boundaries. And most recently the creation of my research Chair on “Sustainability Communication & Organizing”, which focuses on cultural and organizational transformation to reach the UNSDGs, opens completely new avenues and very exciting opportunities for research and impact.
Since I have become aware of the profound systemic challenges of climate change, it literally means the world to me.
What are you working on at the moment? Why is it exciting to you?
My most recent project involves a field experiment during an upcoming sustainability hackathon at Montpellier Business School. We will train students about the systemic nature of the causes and consequences of climate change through a Climate Collage workshop in two different ways and test how we may increase the impact on their environmental behavior and become agents of change. This project is very exciting to me since it addresses an important theoretical question about social contagion and moving from individual to collective actions, on one hand. And on the other hand, it will hopefully not only trigger a collective dynamic on SDG action at my school but also help to directly improve the Climate Collage workshop which is currently given to hundreds of thousands of people in France.
To keep my inspiration and energy level up I enjoy reading books, talking to colleagues and practitioners, and spending time with family and in nature.
Difficult to pick one... But at the moment I would say “The Great Transition Handbook” (Manuel de la grande transition), which is a recent book written by a collective of 70 social and natural scientists. What I like about this book is that it is inter- and transdisciplinary (crossing environment, health, life sciences, biology, physics, economics, law, management, philosophy, sociology, and political science). It provides a systemic understanding of the transition challenges and identifies individual and collective levers of action. Unfortunately, it is only available in French at this stage.
I like the freedom to follow my own curiosity and to have the privilege to teach and inspire others.
Surround yourself with a network of peers who support you. Look for the big question that animates you and makes you get out of bed in the morning. Read a lot but don’t shy away from developing your own ideas. Take breaks and stay true to yourself.