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Sustainability

Students and faculty in the Sustainability subgroup recognize that the role of business is to create and distribute wealth equitably, both within and across generations. They subscribe to the principles of sustainable development, which is development that ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’. A core assumption of researchers in this group is that the broader social and environmental contexts matter to business and that sustainability is core to effective management of risks and opportunities in today’s world. Researchers in this group are also interested in research with the potential to address broad global challenges and to make the world a better place.

The Sustainability group therefore looks to push the boundaries of current theories and methods. We are excited by new ideas and new approaches, as current theories have not adequately addressed some of the significant macro challenges confronting us. We are also excited by research that has practical implications and engages with real-world problems and phenomena.

The faculty members comprising this group include Diane-Laure Arjaliès, Pratima (Tima) Bansal, Oana Branzei, Jury Gualandris, Rob Klassen, Deishin Lee, and Wren Montgomery. They have published cutting-edge sustainability research in top journals across disciplines, including Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Operations Management, Management Accounting Research, Management Science, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal. PhD students in the Sustainability area have also received several awards including the Governor General's Gold Medal (Mark DesJardine, Natalie Slawinski), conference best paper prizes, and have placed at top schools (McGill, Penn State etc.).

Ivey's sustainability community is large and active, providing a thriving environment for our Sustainability PhD students. Approximately one third of faculty members across Ivey engage in sustainability research, reflecting its true cross-disciplinary nature (e.g. Janice Byrne, Nadine de Gannes, Alison Konrad, Kirk Kristofferson, Nouri Najjar and Brandon Schaufele, among others). As well, Ivey’s Sustainability group attracts a large number of high-quality doctoral students, post-doctoral students, and international faculty and student visitors. This rich support at Ivey across disciplines and methodological perspectives means the sustainability community at Ivey is vibrant, active and highly generative. Importantly, this structure also offers students the unique opportunity to explore sustainability questions and challenges that cross traditional academic boundaries and ways of seeing the world.

Ivey has gained an international reputation for its sustainability activities. We host the Sustainability PhD Academy that brings together 15 students and 5 faculty from around the world annually in this highly competitive program. Ivey’s annual Sustainability Conference also brings top global sustainability thinkers to Ivey for 2 days of deep conversation with Ivey PhD students and faculty, and aims to build a local community of sustainability scholars that crosses university boundaries. Sustainability doctoral students are also able to access conference and research funding through Ivey’s well recognized Centre for Building Sustainable Value. In addition, the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) was founded at Ivey. NBS aims to bridge research and practice in order to advance business sustainability. Over 7500 managers and researchers subscribe to NBS’s newsletter.

*Please note that Sustainability is a stream under General Management

Areas of Research Focus

  • Time, space, and scale
  • Systems thinking/theory
  • Social and environmental entrepreneurship
  • Collective and cross-sectoral action for sustainability
  • Sustainable and conservation finance
  • Impact assessment and integrated reporting
  • Circular economy
  • Sustainable food supply chains
  • Co-evolutionary embedded systems (circular products, business models and supply chains)

 

PhD Student Opportunities

The doctoral program in Sustainability is recruiting students with the following research interests.

Professor Pratima (Tima) Bansal is recruiting PhD students interested in researching innovation and sustainability
In 2019, I initiated the Ivey Innovation Learning Lab, which is a consortium of organizations that meet quarterly to ‘innovate the innovation process’ by applying systems thinking. These organizations will innovate outcomes that contribute to organizational and societal prosperity. The student(s) will observe and support the Lab and engage with these organizations between meetings. The student(s) will gain real world experience, while also building analytical skills that advance the academic literature in sustainability, innovation and systems thinking. The PhD student(s) engaging in this project must have strong interpersonal and communication skills and be intellectually curious. Here is a citation to a research article that illuminates the approach to research we are taking: Garima Sharma and Pratima Bansal, Cocreating Rigorous and Relevant Knowledge, Academy of Management Journal, https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2016.0487.

The Operations Management group and the Sustainability group are working in tandem on a large project that examines the Circular Economy revolution. We are working with several industry partners on key research questions such as: What managerial lenses allow firms to see and pursue economic value in "waste"? What inter-organizational strategies, structures and processes allow firms to extract and capture value from "waste"? How do decisions to reduce or consume waste impact the business, its supply chain and the broader sector? Working with us, the student(s) will engage with important stakeholder groups across sectors as they fuel the revolution from linear, exploitative economic systems to circular, regenerative economic systems. The student(s) will build strong inter-disciplinary skills that advance our scholarly and practical understanding of the circular economy. Discover more about our on-going research here.

 

Post-graduate Opportunities

The doctoral program in Sustainability is designed for those interested in pursuing academic careers in sustainability at top business schools.

Dr. Mark DesJardine (2016 PhD)

Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University

PhD Dissertation:

The Causes and Consequences of Corporate Short-termism

Corporate short-termism is one of the most significant concerns facing companies and society today. It demands that companies maximize profits in the short term regardless of the long-term consequences. Corporate short-termism can destroy long-run wealth generation, fuel job lay-offs, impede innovation, and neglect society’s social and environmental interests. Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, declares that short-termism, “lies at the heart of many of today’s problems.”... Read more.


Faculty Advisor(s):

Dr. Natalie Slawinski (2010 PhD)

Associate Professor, Memorial University

PhD Dissertation:

Short on Time: The Role of Organizational Time Orientation in Business

Our research explores the role of time in explaining firm responses to social and environmental issues. We draw on time perspective and other related individual level constructs from the psychology literature, along with research on time from the organizational and sociology literatures, to develop time orientation as a multi-dimensional firm-level construct.... Read more


Faculty Advisor(s):

 

Discipline Coordinator

Wren Montgomery

Dr. Wren Montgomery joined Ivey in 2018 as a member of the Sustainability and General Management groups. She also holds a Visiting Research Scholar appointment at the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Business Sustainability. Professor Montgomery’s research focuses on emerging pressures on water resources and institutions including tensions over ownership, corporate water management, and access and affordability challenges. She also studies environmental entrepreneurship, cross-sectoral collaboration, and corporate greenwashing. Prior to returning to academia, Dr. Montgomery worked as a government relations and management consultant, as well as a policy analyst and strategist at senior levels of government.

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