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Fiddling whilst the ice melts


Themes: Energy and environment

Dr Shahzad AnsariOrganisational scholars are being challenged to become more involved in the climate change debate

A leading expert on institutional change is challenging organisational scholars to engage in the on-going climate change debate.

Dr Shahzad Ansari, University Lecturer in Strategy at Cambridge Judge Business School, says the debate offers a golden opportunity for social scientists to make meaningful contributions to understanding the surrounding cultural and political dimensions.

He believes that organisational science can provoke a fresh approach to some of the current notions of climate change. It could generate richer insights into the cultural and institutional challenges of reaching agreements and the strategic impacts of climate change on organisations, as well as creative solutions to the challenges it raises.

Dr Ansari is co-author of an essay encouraging greater organisational scholar involvement. It asks, will they ‘Fiddle while the ice melts?’ as the debate rumbles on.

“Climate change is a provocateur challenging us to rethink how and why we live on the planet. It can provoke us to think about the long-term impact of our short-term choices and galvanise new thinking about technology, even challenging us to rethink the cherished goals of capitalism, growth and consumption in favour of a way of living and doing business more sustainably.”

He insists there is no alternative but to increase the numbers involved in the debate on climate change before it’s too late.

“Everything starts with thinking about things in the right way and I’m pretty sure we can change the ‘taken-for-granted’ assumptions we have about economic growth and capitalism which have to be rethought, re-conceptualised.

“We are not saying we don’t have to have economic growth, of course we must, but all other aspects of sustainability have to be aligned with cherished economic ideals if we are to have a sustainable planet.”