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Beyond Grey Pinstripes
Introduction to Sustainability (2011)
Topic AreasEnvironmental Management
This course uses a variety of readings, discussions, and activities through which students understand the evolution of the essentially contested concept of sustainability, its applications, and the challenges that lie ahead for advancing what is commonly called “the sustainability agenda.” Every individual has their own conception of what sustainability means, and the degree to which it should be implemented in a given context; the course works from these individual understandings, building in the theoretical underpinnings of sustainability in order to apply it to organizational environments.
Specifically, students will first gain an understanding of sustainability through the lens of systems thinking, as rooted in ecological and social systems, and will then apply that thinking in organizational settings through such frameworks as adaptive leadership and the soft systems methodology (SSM).
The course proceeds conceptually in an hourglass format, with a broad introduction at the beginning, followed by a narrower perspective of the theoretical foundations of sustainability, and finally a return to broader applications of these theories in the context of organizations.
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to “see” sustainability and articulate components of it in the language of systems thinking.