Faith in the future: on a mission to integrate sustainability into management theory and practice

Fabien Martinez, Ken Peattie, Diego Alfonso Vazquez-Brust

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper considers the future transformation of management theory and practice towards greater sustainability by framing it as a battle of competing faiths rather than logics. We apply the lens of ‘syncretism’, a process that describes religious faith interactions to understand the critical role of ‘missionaries’ and ‘believers’ in business progress towards sustainability. Using analogical reasoning, we argue that business missionaries and believers are characterised by varying levels of (1) sensibility to sustainability issues and (2) capacity to open themselves to ‘external’ idea systems and worldviews. The type of relationships that are developed amongst these agents may critically shape a firm’s sustainability performance. The article ends with an outline of implications for the future of corporate sustainability practice, research and theory.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFutures
    Publication statusAccepted for publication - 20 Oct 2020

    Keywords

    • Corporate sustainability
    • missionaries
    • believers
    • syncretism
    • management paradigms
    • analogical reasoning

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