A typology of sustainability managers: Scientist, messenger, artisan and storyteller

Sai Leong Tang, David Robinson, Michael Harvey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Talk of "sustainability" is fashionable in the business world these days. However, in the face of overwhelming global challenges such as, climate change and persistent poverty, the reoccurring question is "can individuals in organizations make a difference?" This paper examines the motivates of managers to devote their time and energies to addressing social, environmental and ethical issues. There is an expanding literature on the role of managers for corporate sustainability change agents, in particular in their capacity as environmental or social 'champions'. The paper presents empirical findings among sustainability managers, providing a rich, understanding of different types of sustainability change agents. It identifies four such categories of sustainability managers, those being Scientist, Messenger, Artist and Storyteller. The data also suggests the pivotal role of values, inspiration, expertise, empowerment, strategic thinking and social contribution as sources of meaning for these purpose-inspired managers. The findings shed light on our understanding of the psychological dimensions of corporate sustainability management, and provides a useful tool for improving individual and team performance, enhancing recruitment and retention of sustainability talent, and developing more effective organizational leadership for sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWLICSMB 2010: Proceedings of the 12th West Lake international conference on small and medium business: 24-26th October, 2010
Place of PublicationHangzhou, Zhejiang, P. R. China
PublisherZhejiang University of Technology
Pages1-40
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event12th West Lake international conference on small and medium business - Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Duration: 24 Oct 2010 → …

Conference

Conference12th West Lake international conference on small and medium business
CountryChina
CityHangzhou, Zhejiang
Period24/10/10 → …

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  • Cite this

    Tang, S. L., Robinson, D., & Harvey, M. (2010). A typology of sustainability managers: Scientist, messenger, artisan and storyteller. In WLICSMB 2010: Proceedings of the 12th West Lake international conference on small and medium business: 24-26th October, 2010 (pp. 1-40). Zhejiang University of Technology.