Listen to one of the most engaging Symposium of AOM 2020! Great panel discussion on what changes we have to make in our research to address the climate and environmental crisis.
The Management Field in Light of the Climate Crisis: What Changes Do We Have to Make?
Symposium at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management sponsored by: Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE), Social Issues in Management (SIM), Strategic Management (STR)
Panelists: Magali Delmas, UCLA; Glen Dowell, Cornell University; Duncan Duke, Ithaca College; Stuart Hart, University of Vermont; Sanjay Sharma, University of Vermont; Daniel Vermeer, Duke University
Scholars and experts at the confluence of management theory and the natural environment came together to discuss fundamental changes the field of management must undertake to respond meaningfully to the climate crisis. The key parameters of the discussion were that the changes must match the scope and breadth of the crisis, its finality, and the ten-year time window available to address it. Some of the main ideas proposed include:
- Redefine value – The rise of shareholder primacy and the financialization of the economy have distorted the original understandings of corporate value creation. As a field, we must rethink what the purpose of the firm is, who it ultimately serves, and how we define what value is. We must move from a financial capitalism logic to sustainable capitalism logic.
- Reconceptualize our metrics – Related to the previous point, several participants noted the need to move beyond our traditional outcome measurements or trying to link environmental performance to financial performance. Specifically, we need to be bold, and not only study metrics that practitioners may be using or testing, but construct and propose our own.
- Forge alliances to develop the “soft” infrastructure – To develop and promote new measures relevant to the environmental and related crises, we perforce must work in concert with ecologists and other natural science experts. Multidisciplinary cooperation with the “hard sciences” is imperative. Also, we should emulate economists and start to work much more directly with the people who make the relevant decisions (such as policymakers) to help them apply what we do know about management (e.g. new tech adoption, legitimacy of practices, etc.). We can also be very valuable in creating the “soft infrastructure” necessary for practitioners to move beyond the firm-centric view of the world, and for different academic silos to be able to come together to co-create new solutions.
The ensuing discussion was wide ranging and thought provoking, with a highly engaged audience that helped surface issues such as:
- how to better prepare students for these challenges
- how the pandemic might influence this issue,
- how should junior faculty who want to be active in this space chart their careers.
We, the symposium members had a great time and would like to thank all the audience participants for their engagement and thoughts. We are very happy with feedback like “This is one of the most engaging sessions of AOM. Great discussion”