Leading Change toward Sustainability: A Change-Management Guide for Business, Government and Civil Society

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 1 June 2004

Keywords

Citation

(2004), "Leading Change toward Sustainability: A Change-Management Guide for Business, Government and Civil Society", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 5 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijshe.2004.24905bae.005

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Leading Change toward Sustainability: A Change-Management Guide for Business, Government and Civil Society

Leading Change toward Sustainability: A Change-Management Guide for Business, Government and Civil Society

Bob Doppelt with a Foreword by William McDonoughGreenleaf PublishingSheffieldSeptember 2003272 pp.ISBN 1-874719-64-0£16.95/US$30.00

Keywords: Sustainable development, Organizational change, Corporate strategy

Even though a number of organisations have embraced the idea of sustainability in the last decade, why do so many initiatives fail, leading to wasted resources, frustration and cynicism? Why have so few organisations successfully adopted more sustainable policies or practices? And when they do get launched, why do so many efforts plateau after a short time and fail to ascend to the next level of excellence? What process is required to create change within organisations to move them towards sustainability?

Because so few resources are available to answer these questions, Bob Doppelt spent three years researching how the leaders of both private and public organisations that have initiated and sustained significant sustainability programmes designed and approached them. His findings, presented in this hugely readable book, will demystify the sustainability-change process by providing a theoretical framework and a methodology that managers can use to successfully transform their organisations to embrace sustainable development.

According to Doppelt, discussions about what to do, which new technologies and policy instruments to apply, have dominated the public dialogue on sustainability. Practitioners place comparatively little emphasis on how organisations can change their internal thought processes, assumptions and ingrained behaviours to embrace new tools and techniques. Organisational and cultural change is the key missing ingredient in the operationalisation of sustainable development. Without such change, sustainability efforts usually stall soon after they begin or fail outright.

Crammed with case examples, interviews and checklists on how to move corporate and governmental cultures toward sustainability, the book argues that the key factors that facilitate change consistently appear in the ongoing and successful (but incomplete) efforts Doppelt examined at companies such as Nike, Starbucks, IKEA, Chiquita, Interface, Swisscom and Norm Thompson and in governmental efforts such as those in The Netherlands and Santa Monica in California. For these and other cutting-edge organisations, leading change is a philosophy for success. In fact, in many ways leading change toward sustainability is just a restatement of what their leaders already know and do.