Table of Contents

Sustainable Development in Organizations

Sustainable Development in Organizations

Studies on Innovative Practices

Edited by Mattias Elg, Per- Erik Ellström, Magnus Klofsten and Malin Tillmar

An increasingly competitive environment can lead to considerable problems for many organizations as they struggle to adapt to change. As a result, they fail to create the conditions that can lead to sustainable development over the long term, thus affecting the capabilities of employees. This book provides a fresh perspective on sustainable change and development in organizations, as well as a critical perspective on lean implementation, work environment and sustainability.

Chapter 1: Sustainable development in organizations

Mattias Elg, Per-Erik Ellström, Magnus Klofsten and Malin Tillmar

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisational innovation, organisation studies


In many organizations, efforts undertaken to survive in competitive markets may have the side effect of deteriorating employee working conditions, leading to absenteeism and a loss of competitiveness. The organization becomes involved in vicious cycles of creating organizational conditions that do not promote sustainability with respect to the undertaken efforts. This book explores how to avoid this kind of destructive dynamic and enable virtuous circles, leading to sustainable development in organizations in both the private and public sectors. Change is a central characteristic of our time, as are organizations and organizing (Ahrne and Brunsson, 2006). In a modern economy, everything takes place in an organizational context. This goes for all levels of relationships, from individual, to national, to global. An individual is engaged in, or a member of, a number of organizations in a system resembling Russian nesting dolls. The same goes for organizations. A firm or a company may consist of a number of workplaces, connected in units based on different principles. Consequently, the relevant organization varies across time, space, the number of contextual characteristics and individuals.