Home > Research > Activities > European Group of Organizational Studies confer...
View graph of relations

European Group of Organizational Studies conference – Sub Plenary co-chairing with Professor Stefan Bohm and Professor Herve Corvellec

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference -Mixed Audience


his sub-plenary will explore where organizations and organization studies need to go to address the global challenges associated with the era that has been called the ‘Anthropocene’. This includes the critical questioning of the responses given by organizations to ecological, economic and other social challenges in the Anthropocene, such as global warming, ecosystems destruction, global social inequalities, plastic littering of the oceans, fresh water shortage, limits of planetary and social boundaries, etc. While (corporate) sustainability has been the bedrock of how private, public and non-profit organizations have responded to these challenges for the past 25 years or more, they have not always had the desired outcomes (to say the least).
Recently, the Circular Economy approach has become popular, offering organizations a tool for more radical systems redesign and transition towards a more sustainable world. Chinese and European governments, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Circle Economy and others have championed the Circular Economy. Is this new approach radical enough to tackle the global challenges we face today, or is this the latest attempt of a dying, linear system to rescue itself?
Isn’t the elephant in the room of the current debates on sustainability and circularity the question of growth itself? It strikes us that if sustainability and circularity approaches are simply seen as tools to prolong a perpetual cycle of economic growth, then they will fail. If this is so, what is the role of organization studies in an era of degrowth? How does the field need to be repositioned to respond to the global challenges of not just today but future generations? Will our field be simply there to organize the perpetual decline of disaster capitalism, or can it contribute to alternative futures that are just, sustainable and resilient? It is these questions this sub-plenary will explore, which are of particular importance and relevance in the current global Covid-19 pandemic.

Karim Saagbul is Workers Organizer consultant in Accra, Ghana. He works with the informal sector, where he is engaged with projects that empower women in waste (WIEGO – MIT Pick-It!), and with the waste pickers at Kpone landfill site (Global Alliance of Waste Pickers). Committed to supporting the workers’ rights, Karim is currently heavily involved in setting up pension schemes for them.

Andrea Brown is an Executive Honorary Teaching Fellow at the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business, Lancaster University, who has a wealth of expertise in resource management and Circular Economy. She has a rich career trajectory and is currently the Global Sustainability Director at LyondellBasell, who are one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Prior to joining LyondellBasell she has worked at Quadi as the Impact Strategy Director providing equity and debt financing to companies helping to create a crucial and regenerative economy. And at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) as the Director of the Circular Economy team and was heavily engaged with creating the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (WBCSD).

Matthias Schmelzer is an economic historian, networker and climate activist. He is a post-doctoral researcher at the Friedrich-Schiller University Jena and works at the Laboratory for New Economic Ideas in Leipzig, Germany. For many years he has been active in the global justice and climate justice movements. His main interests include the political economy of capitalism, social and environmental history, climate catastrophe, degrowth, and alternative economics. He is author of the award-winning "The Hegemony of Growth" and has written on 20th century social and economic history, monetary politics, international organizations, and degrowth.

Event (Conference)

TitleEuropean Group of Organizational Studies conference – Sub Plenary co-chairing with Professor Stefan Bohm and Professor Herve Corvellec
Date1/01/18 → …