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Organizational behavior in the face of climate challenges
 
Guest editors:
 

Paul Shrivastava, The Pennsylvania State University
Elen RIOT, Université Paris 8 Vincennes - Saint-Denis
Franck BIETRY, Université de Caen

 
Abstract


Climate change and environmental issues have become recurring topics in current debates, leading to a heightened awareness of the need to preserve the planet and its species. To address these challenges, governments, businesses, social movements, and NGOs are actively engaging in a transition towards sustainable and nature-friendly lifestyles. In this critical context, academic research plays a crucial role by proposing concrete and applicable solutions to help managers confront these issues. The Covid-19 pandemic has further emphasized systemic dysfunctions, the interdependence of value chain actors, and resource scarcity. As a result, this special edition gives voice to researchers in organizational behavior to explore their potential contribution in the fight against climate change and environmental crises. Three research themes are prioritized. Firstly, they delve into the initiative of defining change, introducing transformations, and evaluating their impacts at various levels of analysis (individuals, groups, organizations, institutions). Scientific and cultural approaches are studied to better understand events related to this transformative period, especially in sectors like agriculture where sustainability is crucial. Secondly, the organized action in response to climate change and the environment is examined through public policies, corporate self-regulations, and choices regarding sustainable development. Ensuring alignment between discourse and actions becomes essential for decision-makers, raising questions about the radicality or reformist approach to policies. Lastly, the third theme explores the mentalities and behaviors of actors facing environmental transformations. In-depth research is conducted on representations and emotions related to climate change, which can generate resilient or traumatic behaviors. Reactions such as denial and organizational hypocrisy are also studied, as well as the engagement of active groups in reflection and knowledge creation. This special edition will welcome articles using different research methods and approaches to foster a better understanding of the challenges linked to climate change and the environment, aiming to promote effective and sustainable actions for a future that respects our planet.

 

The theme of climate change and environmental issues has become recurrent in contemporary debates. Growing concerns about the future of the planet and species are multiplying, as well as calls for nature-respecting and sustainability-focused lifestyles. In the face of these challenges, governments and businesses are confronted with major changes, while social movements and non-governmental organizations actively engage in accelerating the transition. In this context, it is essential for academic research to address the subject and propose concrete and applicable solutions. The goal is to help managers effectively face challenges related to climate change and the environment. The Covid-19 pandemic has made the systemic nature of dysfunctions, the interdependence of actors in value chains (Acquier, Valiorgue, Daudigeos, 2017), and the finiteness of resources more evident. In this context, this special issue aims to give voice to researchers in organizational behavior: what can be their contribution to counteracting climate change and environmental crises. Articles can be at different levels of analysis: individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions. Regarding methods, approaches, and chosen research trends, we are resolutely ecumenical and curious about all the possibilities you choose to explore.

 

Research Themes

Three research themes particularly interest us regarding climate change. They are based on the information contained in the latest IPCC report (2022). The contribution of Working Group II to the sixth IPCC assessment report assesses in detail the impacts, risks, and adaptation to climate change in cities where more than half of the world's population lives. According to these experts, the health, life, and livelihoods of inhabitants, as well as crucial assets and infrastructure like energy and transportation systems, are increasingly affected by hazards such as heatwaves, storms, droughts, floods, and slow-evolving phenomena like sea-level rise..

 

THEME 1
The Keys of Change and Impact

The initial theme of reflection addresses the initiatives taken at all levels and different scales to define the terms of change, introduce transformations, and evaluate their impacts. The initial challenge lies in the search for meaning (Weick, 1995) to understand the events unfolding around us. What is happening? How are we affected in this period of significant transformation? Understanding it involves an analysis of the situation and the problems to be solved. Different approaches oppose each other. Some adopt a scientistic vision and rely on science and technology, while others invite broader reflection on the culture of inhabitants in developed countries, increasingly disconnected from the natural world and dependent on producers they do not know (Dubuisson-Quellier and Gojard, 2016).

In fields such as agriculture, ongoing changes are evaluated from the perspective of current transformations and the inevitable damages caused by mechanical and chemical-dependent farming methods, which are now considered problematic in terms of sustainability. Labels and standards intended for consumers are ambivalent signals (Arnold and Loconto, 2021) that do not always guarantee quality and social and environmental responsibility, even though they remain the preferred instrument for establishing rules along value chains.

As the experience of environmental disasters, such as the case of Bhopal (Shrivastava et al., 2020), teaches us, the risk of error is high in many areas due to the size of equipment and dependence on complex and often difficult-to-master technologies. Two types of motivations can be identified to act: on the one hand, awareness of danger and the desire to limit its effects, and on the other hand, commitment to the environment, which can be associated with a vision of a better future through a profound transformation of society (Adler, 2016). These two motivations are not mutually exclusive. It is possible to build alliances (Gray and Purdy, 2018; Gray, Purdy, and Ansari, 2022) that take into account the gap between organizations and power relations among actors, thus allowing joint actions.

  • What should we do with the knowledge we already possess and the knowledge we need to accumulate on new subjects?
  • Should expertise be specialized or, on the contrary, generalized to form choices subject to democratic debate (Banerjee, 2011)?
  • How can we find a public space for long-term subjects such as climate change and the environment in a world dominated by media characterized by the urgency and variability of the topics covered?

 

THEME 2
Organized action in response to climate change and the environment.

A second theme related to climate change and the environment is that of organized action at different levels (Friedberg, 2015). Climate issues have been addressed through public policies and self-regulations of companies (Wright and Nyberg, 2015) taking into account their specific constraints. Companies face sometimes conflicting objectives between financial performance and commitments to sustainable development set by international institutions (Nyberg, 2021). The alignment between discourse and actions becomes a major issue for decision-makers interested in the choices companies make regarding sustainable development (Den Hond, Rehbein, de Bakker, and Lankveld, 2014) :

  • Which actions are the most legitimate and effective?
  • Is a radical transformation of policies based on data accumulated over the next ten years needed, or is an incremental and reformist approach required to preserve the complexity of policies and institutional structures?

 

THEME 3
Attitudes and behaviors of the actors

The third and final theme to address is that of mindsets in relation to the behaviors of actors confronted with transformations in their environment. Studies are multiplying on the representations and emotions linked to climate change. These emotions can lead to both resilient behaviors and traumas with significant impacts on the physical and mental health of individuals, such as "solastalgia" (Albrecht et al., 2007) - a profound distress caused by climate change. Other reactions such as denial or organizational hypocrisy (Brunsson, 1986) also generate significant research interest as they act as barriers to change both at the individual and collective levels.

They may represent attempts to buy time without taking action, while not openly denying the urgency of necessary changes (Christensen, Morsing, and Thyssen, 2020; Slawinski, Pinkse, Busch, and Banerjee, 2017). Many actors involved in environmental actions, particularly in disadvantaged countries, report vigorous and committed measures but may also face criticism (Banerjee and Jackson, 2011). While multinational corporations are powerful and capable of large-scale actions, other actors may appear more legitimate in advocating for necessary environmental actions.

We are particularly interested in approaches that address our fears and defenses through debate, such as environmental ethics (Broome, 2012) or aesthetic experience (Afeissa and Lafolie, 2015). We are also highly interested in the involvement of active groups in reflection, debate, knowledge creation, and dissemination, such as the laboratory point5 (https://labos1point5.org/). This group consists of volunteer researchers organized within the framework of the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), promoting transdisciplinarity, collective learning, and the implementation of change linked to participatory democracy inherent in the world of research.

  • What other collective spaces and moments exist to reflect on our current situation?
 
How to submit?
 

Submitting articles to the RIPCO is done via the RIPCO manuscript manager website at : https://www.manuscriptmanager.net/ripco

When submitting, authors must choose the special issue "Special Issue : Climate Change" from the drop-down menu in the field " If the manuscript is destinated to a Special Issue, please make a choice" found in the "DETAILS" page of the submission. Proposals should follow the editorial standards of the journal: ripco-online.com/en/avantSoumission.asp

 
Review process
 

All articles submitted to the journal are reviewed on a double-blind basis and all resubmitted manuscripts go through the same review process, and the previously solicited reviewers give an assessment based on consideration of the changes suggested in the first round of review. The final editorial decision will be made on the basis of the proposed revised manuscript, in the form of either an acceptance for publication or a final rejection, possibly with an invitation to resubmit for a regular issue of the journal.

 
Tentative Schedule
 

Manuscript submission: October 30, 2023
Notice to authors: January 3, 2024
Submission of revised manuscripts: May 10, 2024
Additional reviews and final acceptance: October 2, 2024
Submission of the final version of the special issue to be sent to RIPCO: October 20, 2024

 
References
 
  • Acquier, A., Valiorgue, B., & Daudigeos, T. (2017). Sharing the shared value: A transaction cost perspective on strategic CSR policies in global value chains. Journal of Business Ethics, 144(1), 139-152.
  • Adler, P. S. (2016). Alternative economic futures: A research agenda for progressive management scholarship. Academy of Management perspectives, 30(2), 123-128
  • Adler, P. S. (2016). Alternative economic futures: A research agenda for progressive management scholarship. Academy of Management perspectives, 30(2), 123-128
  • Afeissa H.S. et Lafolie Y. (2015), Esthétique de l’environnement. Appréciation, connaissance et devoir, Editions Vrin, Paris
  • Albrecht, G., Sartore, G. M., Connor, L., Higginbotham, N., Freeman, S., Kelly, B., ... & Pollard, G. (2007). Solastalgia: the distress caused by environmental change. Australasian psychiatry, 15(sup1), S95-S98.
  • Banerjee, S. B. (2011). Voices of the governed: Towards a theory of the translocal. Organization, 18(3), 323-344.
  • Banerjee, S. B., & Jackson, L. (2017). Microfinance and the business of poverty reduction: Critical perspectives from rural Bangladesh. Human relations, 70(1), 63.
  • Broome, J. (2012). Climate matters: Ethics in a warming world (Norton global ethics series). WW Norton & Company.
    Rapport du Groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du climat (GIEC), "Changements climatiques 2022 : impacts, adaptation et vulnérabilité". (https://www.unep.org/fr/resources/rapport/sixieme-rapport-devaluation-du-giec-changement-climatique-2022, consulté le 15 octobre 2022).
  • Brunsson, N. (1986). Organizing for inconsistencies: On organizational conflict, depression and hypocrisy as substitutes for action. Scandinavian Journal of Management Studies, 2(3-4), 165-185.
  • Brunsson, N. (1986). Organizing for inconsistencies: On organizational conflict, depression and hypocrisy as substitutes for action. Scandinavian Journal of Management Studies, 2(3-4), 165-185.
  • Christensen L.T, Morsing M. and Thyssen O. (2020), Timely hypocrisy? Hypocrisy temporalities in CSR communication, Journal of Business Research, Volume 114, Pages 327-335, ISSN 0148-2963, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.07.020.
  • Den Hond, F., Rehbein, K. A., de Bakker, F. G., & Lankveld, H. K. V. (2014). Playing on two chessboards: Reputation effects between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate political activity (CPA). Journal of management studies, 51(5), 790-813.
  • Den Hond, F., Rehbein, K. A., de Bakker, F. G., & Lankveld, H. K. V. (2014). Playing on two chessboards: Reputation effects between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate political activity (CPA). Journal of management studies, 51(5), 790-813.
  • Dubuisson‐Quellier, S., & Gojard, S. (2016). Why are food practices not (more) environmentally friendly in France? The role of collective standards and symbolic boundaries in food practices. Environmental Policy and Governance, 26(2), 89-100.
  • Dunlap, R. E., & McCright, A. M. (2011). Organized climate change denial. The Oxford handbook of climate change and society, 1, 144-160.
  • Friedberg, E. (2015). Le pouvoir et la règle. Dynamiques de l'action organisée. Média Diffusion.
    Gray, B., & Purdy, J. (2018). Collaborating for our future: Multistakeholder partnerships for solving complex problems. Oxford University Press.
  • Gray, B., Purdy, J., & Ansari, S. (2022). Confronting power asymmetries in partnerships to address grand challenges. Organization Theory, 3(2), 263178772210987.
  • Moog, S., Spicer, A., & Böhm, S. (2015). The politics of multi-stakeholder initiatives: The crisis of the Forest Stewardship Council. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(3), 469-493.
  • Moog, S., Spicer, A., & Böhm, S. (2015). The politics of multi-stakeholder initiatives: The crisis of the Forest Stewardship Council. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(3), 469-493.
  • Nyberg, D. (2021). Corporations, politics, and democracy: Corporate political activities as political corruption. Organization Theory, 2(1), 2631787720982618.
  • Nyberg, D. (2021). Corporations, politics, and democracy: Corporate political activities as political corruption. Organization Theory, 2(1), 2631787720982618.
  • Shrivastava, P., Mitroff, I. I., Miller, D., & Miglani, A. (2020). Understanding industrial crises [1]. In Risk Management (pp. 181-200). Routledge.
  • Slawinski, N., Pinkse, J., Busch, T., & Banerjee, S. B. (2017). The role of short-termism and uncertainty avoidance in organizational inaction on climate change: A multi-level framework. Business & Society, 56(2), 253-282.
  • Van Bommel, K., & Spicer, A. (2011). Hail the snail: Hegemonic struggles in the slow food movement. Organization studies, 32(12), 1717-1744.
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  • Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in organizations (Vol. 3). Sage.
  • Wright, C., & Nyberg, D. (2015). Climate change, capitalism, and corporations. Cambridge University Press.
  • Wright, C., & Nyberg, D. (2015). Climate change, capitalism, and corporations. Cambridge University Press.
 
Contact
 

contact@ripco-online.com

 
 
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