Reflections on “Corporate Greening”: A Proposed Organizational Change

By Jennifer Davis, Sharon Leiba O’Sullivan and Rumaisa Shaukat.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Is the emergence of social and environmental performance as dominant themes in the current business context an indication that society is beginning to challenge the myth of unlimited wealth? Perhaps. However, more often than not, both are treated as, and are perceived by customers to be, little more than public relations tools in the promotion of brand . This perception reflects the reality that companies are struggling with how to operationalize the concepts of social and environmental responsibility, while maintaining a fair return to shareholders . The struggle arises because in this area, real change requires thinking about organizational purpose in ways that challenge deeply rooted values. In fact, it involves instilling and managing a change in the innate organizational culture. As such, this paper will view the operationalization of social environmental performance through the lens of the change management literature. The process by which change occurs, as well the factors which drive or impede green change in particular will serve as the framework for this paper. This paper draws extensively on archival documents that illustrate different traditions for addressing “corporate greening”. The proposed discussion provides a foundation for further theory based empirical investigations, and offers practical suggestions for improving social and environmental performance.

Keywords: Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Corporate Responsibility, Business Responsibility, Corporate Citizenship, Corporate Environmental Responsibility, Corporate Social Responsibility, Change Management, and Resistance to Change

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 10, Issue 11, pp.31-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.054MB).

Jennifer Davis

Consultant, Stratos Inc. Ottawa, ON, Canada

Jennifer Davis completed her Masters in Business Administration at the Telfer School of Management in the University of Ottawa. Her research during that time focused on the challenges and opportunities that businesses face as they consider the journey to business sustainability and the organizational change processes that businesses would need to consider in order to achieve cultural change and to “green” their operations. Jennifer now works as a consultant with Stratos Inc., Canada’s leading sustainability consultancy. You can learn about Jennifer’s work at

Dr. Sharon Leiba O’Sullivan

Associate Professor, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Sharon Leiba O’Sullivan is an associate professor of international human resources and cross-cultural management at the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. Her current research program, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, addresses the international human resource management challenges in international development non-governmental organizations (INGOs). Sharon has published in several journals, including the Journal of International Business Studies, Human Relations, International Journal of Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management, International Business Review, Career Development International, and International Journal of Manpower.

Prof. Rumaisa Shaukat

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Rumaisa Shaukat is a contract professor and a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Her research interests lay within the field of organizational studies, specifically related to the topics of organizational change, program implementation, performance management and organizational behaviour. Her doctoral research is centered on diverse institutional responses to government-initiated organizational changes.


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