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Wicked global challenges: sustainability in the enterprise crosshairs

Rick Edgeman (Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

Measuring Business Excellence

ISSN: 1368-3047

Article publication date: 16 March 2015




This paper aims to address wicked sustainability issues lurking behind sensational headlines: “Humanity faces significant and unprecedented challenges on grand, global scales”. Such headlines refer to the span of such challenges as well as their complex roots and consequences. In a cosmic version of the “chicken or the egg” issue, causes and consequences of these grand global challenges are often difficult to distinguish from one another, although distinction is critical to solution derivations. Sustainable Enterprise Excellence, Resilience & Robustness (SEER2) is discussed relative to selected wicked challenges, including ones associated with climate change and human security.


Roots of grand global challenges and the present and future reality they portend are discussed relative to intersections with enterprise strategy, performance and impact.


Social-ecological innovation, big and small data analytics and intelligence and supply chain proficiency are identified as key drivers of enterprise response to grand global challenges. These are embedded in a holistic model for enterprise sustainability, resilience and robustness.

Social implications

The SEER2 approach to enterprise sustainability, resilience and robustness that emphasizes performance and impact has the capability to aid progress toward more sustainable futures for enterprises and humankind alike.


The SEER2 model leverages business excellence thinking to advance strategic and tactical approaches to enterprise excellence, sustainability, resilience and robustness. As such, the model is distinctly performance-oriented. Performance alone is not sufficient, however, so that impact – financial, societal and ecological – is also deeply embedded.



Edgeman, R. (2015), "Wicked global challenges: sustainability in the enterprise crosshairs", Measuring Business Excellence, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 13-23.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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