Managing Natural Resources
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Managing Natural Resources

Organizational Strategy, Behaviour and Dynamics

Edited by Gerard George and Simon J.D. Schillebeeckx

Managing the natural environment is fundamental to many businesses, yet management scholars have understudied how natural resources are acquired and deployed, how they constrain and challenge strategy and innovation, and how they differ from more conventionally studied resources in management. This book captures leading and thought-provoking conceptual and empirical contributions on how organizations (ought to) interact with such natural resources. The authors apply and extend management theories to the natural resource context, thereby opening up multiple avenues for future research.
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Chapter 9: A human leap of ecological faith: the role of indeterminacy and irreversibility in ecological sensemaking

Jason Good

Abstract

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.

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