New Horizons in International Business series
Edited by Subhash C. Jain and Ben L. Kedia
Chapter 2: Sustainable Enterprises: Addressing Management Challenges in the Twenty-first Century
Paul Shrivastava and Raymond Paquin ‘There are many things we do not know about the future. But one thing we do know is that business as usual will not continue for much longer. Massive change is inevitable. Will the change come because we move quickly to restructure the economy or because we fail to act and civilization begins to unravel?’ Lester Brown (2008) in Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, p. 265 Lester Brown’s point that the time for ‘business as usual’ is over comes at a very appropriate time. As we embark on the twenty-first century, the world faces challenges that are truly epic in size and scope. Business managers and management educators need to understand what is so different about the coming century from the previous one. Why is business as usual not adequate? Why are massive changes inevitable? Is the choice really between restructuring the economy and societal unraveling? One way of examining business challenges of the twenty-first century is to understand the socio-ecological context in which business enterprise operates. By looking at the big picture of how the world is shaping up around us, we can identify many issues with which businesses need to be concerned. In this chapter, we approach this task by focusing on the many crises facing the world. These crises in the economic, social, political and ecological spheres are persistent, repetitive, and ubiquitous. We suggest we are living in a ‘crisis society’ in which most major global systems are in...
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