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A. Wren Montgomery

Associate Professor, Sustainability & General Management

JJ Wettlaufer Faculty Fellowship

Wren Montgomery

Contact Information

Expertise

  • Organization Theory
  • Water Crises & Management
  • Greenwashing
  • Environmental & Social Entrepreneurship

Research Publications

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Dr. Wren Montgomery studies how various forms of social organizing can advance – or obstruct – change. She is primarily interested in the role of collaboration and unconventional coalitions in overcoming obstacles to solving the world’s most pressing challenges, with a focus on the intersections of climate change, water crises, soil degradation, and social justice. Her research integrates and contributes to theories of change across institutional theory, social movements, economics, and entrepreneurship. She is particularly interested in how social organizing impacts two critical and interrelated issues, greenwash and justice:

Greenwash: Greenwashing is when an organization misleads people into adopting overly positive beliefs about its environmental performance, practices, or products. Wren’s research has been pivotal in defining greenwashing and its tactics, and informing strategies to stop it. Her work has been featured in prominent media outlets, such as The Washington Post, Fast Company, CBC Marketplace, and The Network for Business Sustainability. In 2023, Wren also co-founded the Greenwash Action Lab to make academic research and insights accessible to policymakers, NGOs, and managers leading anti-greenwashing efforts.

Social justice and resource equity: Wren researches important questions, such as: Who can access critical resources, like clean water? And how can individuals, communities, companies, and coalitions make resource distribution more equitable? Her keystone work in this area, a multi-year project on water access, won a best dissertation (ONE) and best paper award (OMT) at the Academy of Management for its deep theoretical contributions, as well as prominent awards – the IACMR-RRBM Award for Responsible Research in Management and the NBS-ONE Research Impact on Practice Award – for its real-world impact.

Dr. Montgomery is deeply committed to doing research that has both academic significance and real-world impact. She is a passionate educator and seeks to do this by: helping students to understand the roots of problems and identify leverage points for change; researching and providing successful approaches and tools to changemakers; engaging and working collaboratively with impacted communities; and, by serving on government, NGO, and corporate boards. Wren is also an experienced management consultant and senior government policy analyst and is always happy to collaborate in doing the vital work of making change. 

Teaching

  • HBA2: Corporations & Society – Strategy
  • HBA1: Cross-Enterprise Leadership
  • Executive Education (Sustainability and Strategy): Ivey Business School and Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Education

  • PhD - Queen’s University, Smith School of Business
  • Visiting PhD Student - University of Michigan, Erb Institute
  • MBA – University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business
  • BA, Hon. – McGill University

Recent Refereed Articles

  • Robertson, J. L.; Montgomery, A. W.; Ozbilir, T., 2023, "Employees’ Response to Corporate Greenwashing", Business Strategy and The Environment, November 32(7): 4015 - 4027.
  • Montgomery, A. W.; Lyon, T. P.; Barg, J., (Forthcoming), "No End in Sight? A Greenwash Review and Research Agenda", Organization & Environment
  • Barling, J.; Weatherhead, J. G.; Pupco, S.; Turner, N.; Montgomery, A. W., 2022, "Contextual, interpersonal, and personal predictors of young adults' affective-identity motivation to lead", Leadership and Organization Development Journal, October 43(7): 1118 - 1139.
  • Nemes, N.; Scanlan, S. J.; Smith, P.; Smith, T.; Aronczyk, M.; Hill, S.; Lewis, S. L.; Montgomery, A. W.; Tubiello, F. N.; Stabinsky, D., et al., 2022, "An Integrated Framework to Assess Greenwashing", Sustainability, April 14(8): 4431 - 4431.
  • Montgomery, A. W.; Dacin, M. T., 2021, "Burning Down the House: COVID-19 and Institutions", Journal of Management Studies, July 58(5): 1426 - 1430.
  • Montgomery, A. W.; Wolske, K.; Lyon, T., 2021, "The Millennial ‘Meh’: Correlated Groups as Collective Agents in the Automobile Field", Journal of Management Studies, May 58(3): 673 - 717.
  • Montgomery, A. W.; Dacin, M. T., 2020, "Water Wars in Detroit: Custodianship and the Work of Institutional Renewal", Academy of Management Journal, October 63(5): 1455 - 1484.
  • Montgomery, A. W.; Lyon, T. P.; Zhao, D., 2018, "Not a Drop to Drink? Drinking Water Quality, System Ownership, and Stakeholder Attention", Research in the Sociology of Organizations, July 56: 207 - 245.
  • Corbett, J.; Montgomery, A. W., 2017, "Environmental Entrepreneurship and Interorganizational Arrangements: A Model of Social-benefit Market Creation", Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, December 11(4): 422 - 440.
  • Lyon, T. P.; Montgomery, A. W., 2015, "The Means and End of Greenwash", Organization and Environment, June 28(2): 223 - 249.
  • Lyon, T. P.; Montgomery, A. W., 2013, "Tweetjacked: The Impact of Social Media on Corporate Greenwash", Journal of Business Ethics, December 118(4): 747 - 757.
  • Montgomery, A. W.; Dacin, P. A.; Dacin, M. T., 2012, "Collective Social Entrepreneurship: Collaboratively Shaping Social Good", Journal of Business Ethics, December 111(3): 375 - 388.

For more publications please see our Research Database

Honours & Awards

  • Best Paper Proceedings of the 2022 Academy of Management Meeting for Montgomery, A.W. & Robertson, J. L. (2022) “Why Firms Hide Their Light: Brownwash, Silence, and Variegated Stakeholder Non-Communication” (abridged version)
  • Climate Action Fellowship, Centre for Building Sustainable Value, Ivey Business School, 2022-2024
  • Ivey Research Merit Award Fellowship, 2022-23 and 2023-24
  • Brouwer, R. et al. “The Value of Water in a Sustainable Circular Great Lakes Economy.” Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant. First stage awarded. (Co-Applicant). CDN$20,000
  • Ray, M. et al. “Approaches towards Sustainable Water Resources Management for Remote Communities” Western Research, Interdisciplinary Development Initiatives, awarded May 2023, 2 years. (Co-Investigator and Theme Lead): CDN$200,000.
  • Zbaracki, M. and Montgomery, A.W. “Science, industry, and the public: The policy battle over fossil fuel infrastructure” SSHRC Insight Development Grant, awarded 2022, 2 years (Co-Investigator): CDN $70,857.
  • Montgomery, A.W. “Building Sustainable Justice to Address Resource Inequality” SSHRC Insight Grant. Awarded 2022. (Principal Investigator): CDN$78,034.
  • Winner, 2021, Ivey Business School, Early Career Impact Award
  • Winner 2020 Academy of Management, Network for Business Sustainability-ONE Research Impact on Practice Award, for A.W. Montgomery and Dacin, M.T. “Water Wars in Detroit: Custodianship and the Work of Institutional Renewal”
  • Winner 2020 Third Annual IACMR-RRBM Award for Responsible Research in Management, for A.W. Montgomery and Dacin, M.T. “Water Wars in Detroit: Custodianship and the Work of Institutional Renewal
  • Montgomery, A.W. and Robertson, J. “A Dynamic Model of Misleading Corporate Environmental Communications” SSHRC Insight Development Grant, $60,803 awarded June 2018. (Principal Investigator)
  • Winner 2016 Best Paper on Environmental and Social Practices Award, for A. W. Montgomery, “Think Global, Drink Local: Field Configuring Interactions and the Detroit Water Crisis” at Academy of Management Conference, OMT Division.
  • Winner 2016 Best Dissertation Award, “Water Wars and Warriors: Field Actors and the International Water Crisis” at Academy of Management Conference, ONE Division.
  • Visiting Research Scholar appointment, University of Michigan, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and Environment, 2015-17
  • Montgomery, A.W. “#WaterShaming: Understanding the Impact of Community Attention on Water Use”. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, University of Michigan, US$14,000, awarded October 2016. (Principal Investigator).
  • Robertson, J. and Montgomery, A. W. “The Causes, Methods and Consequences of Brownwashing”. SSHRC Insight Development Grant, $49,305 awarded June 2016. (Co-investigator)
  • Tam E. et al. “From Functional to Sustainable: Achieving Resiliency in Modern Water Infrastructure Systems”. Canadian Water Network, $50,000 grant awarded March 2016 (Co-investigator)
  • Lyon, T.P, Montgomery, A.W., and Wolske, K. “What’s Driving Millennial Travel Behavior? An Exploratory Study”. Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, US$75,000 grant awarded November 2015 for January through December 2016 (Co-Investigator)

Experience

  • ERA Strategy Consultants (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • British Columbia Progress Board (Vancouver, British Columbia)
  • Bank of Montreal-Nesbitt Burns, Private Client Group (Toronto, Ont.)

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