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

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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
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 20 Oct 2020


  • Martinez_et_al_2020_AAM

    Rights statement: The embargo end date of 2050 is a temporary measure until we know the publication date. Once we know the publication date the full text of this article will be able to view shortly afterwards.

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 541 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 1/01/50

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