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Industries, Nations and Time
Karin Andrea Wigger and Marta Bystrowska
A firm that intends to exploit a natural resource opportunity ultimately enters the location of those resources and interacts with the local context. Those locations are often vulnerable to external resource use. A focal firm establishes arrangements with local actors controlling the resources to ensure sustained access to the desired natural resources. Building upon a case study of a firm that regularly enters several locations, this chapter studies the firm’s arrangements with local actors. In particular, the role of localness of natural resources and interdependences between the focal firm and local actors are emphasized. The study unveils that the chosen arrangements vary across different locations and are configurations along social, scope and structural dimensions. This variation in arrangements enables a firm to manage dependence while responding to the local context in order to ensure sustained access to natural resources.
Brett Crawford, Siddharth Mehra and Yulong Hu
This chapter explores how shifting rationalities of individuals and organizations reshape the management of natural resources over time. Using an archival and interview-based research design, we examine the major chronological events and shifting rationalities that impacted how a single, valuable river resource was managed throughout the twentieth century. Drawing on a parallel story (The Giving Tree), our examination of California’s McCloud River illustrates (1) how the rationality of actors at various points in time drives their interests in specific natural resources, as well as acceptable ways to manage those resources and (2) that water resources such as rivers, which have long been viewed as replenishing natural resources, can be managed in a way that removes their replenishing nature. We posit that by improving our understanding of natural resource management in the past, the abilities of individuals and organizations to manage nature resources more responsibly in the future will be enhanced.
This exploratory study examines how frontline managers in a natural resource extraction context make sense of natural systems. The goal is to extend ecological sensemaking theory while also expanding organizational theory further into the frontlines of natural resource extraction industries. To do so I examine how particular characteristics of interacting with natural systems influence how frontline managers in commercial trawl fishing in Alaska make sense of those systems. These characteristics are ‘irreversibility’ and ‘indeterminacy.’ ‘Irreversibility’ is the unyielding march of time inherent to organizing processes and ‘indeterminacy’ is an inability to know for certain how organizing processes will play out over time. Ecological sensemaking functions as a conjectural process at the frontline of the Alaskan commercial fishing context. After elaborating these novel characteristics of ecological sensemaking theory, the chapter offers suggestions for next steps in practice and research.
Edited by Gerard George and Simon J.D. Schillebeeckx
The book aims to develop thought leadership on managing natural resources and stimulate the emergence of a community of management scholars that will advance research in this exciting area. We invited scholars from around the world to share conceptual and empirical research in which natural resources take centre stage and present 11 chapters that all contribute in important ways to both management theory and thinking as well as to the natural resource agenda. We explicitly draw the connection between the sustainable development goals of the United Nations and natural resources and explore how the chapters in this book address many of these goals in a way that husbands management theory with real impact.
Gerard George, Simon J.D. Schillebeeckx and Teng Lit Liak
This chapter is a reprint from an editorial in the Academy of Management Journal. The article investigates how resources have been discussed and theorized over the last decades and finds that despite their omnipresence in economics, engineering and policy, managerial thought on natural resources is largely missing. Yet, important questions on how firms deal with scarcity of natural resources, how they are managed in a sustainable way, and how they inspire all kinds of organizational action abound. We discuss organizational, institutional and societal responses to scarcity and present ways to continue research on the ‘Grand Challenge’ of natural resources within the field of management. Finally, we present a conversation with Teng Lit Liak, a businessman, politician and environmental champion in Singapore on his perspectives on the natural environment.
Organizational Strategy, Behaviour and Dynamics
Edited by Gerard George and Simon J.D. Schillebeeckx
Forough Zarea Fazlelahi and J. Henri Burgers
Transaction Cost Economics and the Resource-Based View are two traditional lenses to explain vertical integration decisions. However, these lenses face limitations in considering the persistence of such decisions over time. Drawing on imprinting theory, this chapter provides a theoretical link between the initial natural resource characteristics surrounding a firm’s birth and its choice and persistence of vertical integration. The main argument is that initial natural resource conditions have an imprinting effect on the vertical integration decisions made by firms in the extractive industries. A process through which imprinting happens is explained. We discuss several propositions concerning the kind of influence different initial natural resource characteristics have on firm decisions. Our main contribution is presenting a natural imprinting view that can explain the enduring effect of natural environment characteristics on firms’ ownership structures in the extractive industries.