Meeting the Challenge of Social Sustainability: governance for profound change

While many organisations, including business and civil society, have recognized the imperative of sustainable development, without structural changes to an organisations’ governance system, sustained change is impeded. The Natural Step (TNS) Social Template is hereby expanded to guide organisations to develop systems for decision-making, information generation and distribution, and resource allocation that allows for, rather than inhibits, change capacity. A systemic approach to organisational development that does not undermine the capacity of their members to meet their needs can contribute to increased productivity, member engagement and commitment, and drive the innovation necessary for altering our complex, dynamic social-ecological systems in alignment with sustainability. Our research explores the internal factors that may create barriers to organisational change and sustainability. In addition, we synthesise basic human needs, systems’ science, and organisational change research into concrete guidelines for strategic sustainable development within…


1 Introduction
1.1 The Global Challenge of Social-Ecological Sustainability
1.1.1 Unsustained organisational development
1.1.2 Human social systems as leverage point
1.1.3 Strategic sustainable development
1.2 Thesis purpose
1.2.1 Internalising social sustainability
1.2.2 Thesis scope
1.2.3 Societal contribution
1.3 Research Questions
2 Background
2.1 Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development
2.1.1 Introduction
2.1.2 Five level framework
2.1.3 Principles for sustainable development
2.2 Planning for Social Sustainability: The Natural Step SocialTemplate
2.2.1 An Introduction
2.2.2 The System
2.2.3 Success level
2.2.4 Strategy level
2.2.5 Action level
2.2.6 Tools level
2.2.7 Gaps in the Social Template
2.3 The Systems’ Paradigm for Organisational Development
2.3.1 Characteristics of systems
2.3.2 Organisations as living systems
3 Methods
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Initial Phase
3.3 Core Phase
3.3.1 Factors preventing change
3.3.2 Strategic Process Guidelines
3.4 Final phase
4 Results
4.1 Introduction
4.2 What prevents change efforts to sustain?
4.2.1 Sustainable development and profound change
4.2.2 Sustainability blunders
4.2.3 The prevailing management system
4.2.4 Internal factors preventing sustainability
4.3 Precursor guidelines
4.3.1 Guidelines from research on organisational change
4.3.2 Listed guidelines from theory of human needs
4.3.3 Listed guidelines from the systems paradigm
4.3.4 Consolidated guidelines
4.4 Social sustainability through sustainable governance
4.4.1 Revised Social Template
4.4.2 Level 1 – System
4.4.3 Level 2 – Success
4.4.4 Level 3 – Strategy
4.4.5 Level 4 – Actions
4.4.6 Level 5 – Tools
4.5 Process of implementation
4.5.1 Introduction
4.5.2 Awareness raising
4.5.3 Strategic management – the Deming Cycle
5 Discussion
5.1.1 Research strengths
5.1.2 General considerations
5.1.3 Validity
6 Conclusion
6.1 Main references

Author: Olers Marie Ericksson, Geneva Rae, Julia Smolyaninova

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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