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)
Students have program requirements, put into place by the PhD office, and discipline requirements, which are governed by the student’s respective area group. On a case by case basis, some students may be able to waive out of particular required courses or substitute others. Such a course of action must be approved by the PhD director
All PhD students must complete the following requirements.
- Attend “stats boot camp” (end of August at start of Year 1).
- Pass Bus 9702 Multivariate Analysis in Year 1.
- Pass Bus 9704 Research Methods in Year 1.
- Pass Bus 9712 Special Topics in Statistics before end of Year 2.
*The content of this course varies by year. Students are encouraged to take the course twice
- Earn 80% or more on Bus 9723 Summer Research Paper before start of Year 2 - Direct Entry Admissions only (i.e. admitted with only an undergraduate degree)
- Complete discipline requirements (listed in the "Discipline Requirements" section below) during Year 1 and 2
- Pass at least two PhD-level courses outside of Ivey before the end of Year 2 or before taking comprehensive exams, whichever is first. It is strongly recommended that at least one of these courses is an econometrics course.
- Complete discipline requirements (listed in the "Discipline Requirements" section below) before the end of Year 2
- Shadow an Ivey professor for an entire undergraduate or MBA course. The associated professor must agree to make this a learning experience for the student (e.g. have conversations about pedagogy, be available for questions about curriculum etc.) and to provide written confirmation to the PhD office of attendance; OR
- Complete at least 20 hours of courses, workshops etc. at Western’s Teaching Centre.
*In consultation with the student, the respective PhD coordinator shall determine which option better suits the student's needs.
To be completed before the comprehensive exam unless otherwise noted.
- Bus 9770 Business Strategy I (0.5 units)
- Bus 9771 Business Strategy II (0.5 units)
- Bus 9826 (OB) Organizational Theory (0.5 units)
- Two of the following GM field courses (1 unit total):
- For the elective courses, students are required to take 1 unit of rigorous, graduate-level methods courses (e.g., econometrics) and 1 additional unit of other graduate-level electives (e.g., other GM fields courses, courses from other area groups or courses from main campus). The goal is to have students take a minimum of four courses a semester. Students should consult their PhD coordinator to help select these additional courses. All students should take rigorous quantitative methods to assure success on the methods portion of their comprehensive exams. To a certain extent, coursework may be customized to particular student needs and skills on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the respective GM PhD coordinator.
These milestones are designed to ensure students make forward progress. A student who does not achieve these milestones within the required timeline may have their funding partially or fully cut or be withdrawn from the program.
This exam will be completed within 22 months of entering the program (normally written between June 1 and July 15 of Year 2). If the student fails this exam, he or she has up to one year to retake the exam. A second failure will result in being withdrawn from the program.
A student will chose a supervisor within one month of passing the comprehensive exam and will communicate the choice in writing to both the PhD coordinator and the PhD office, copying the supervisor.
Between passing comps and sitting the Thesis Proposal Exam (below), the student must form a Thesis Supervisory Committee (commonly referred to as the Proposal Committee). This committee consists of a supervisor and at least two additional faculty members who may or may not be in the student's program. Each must have SGPS membership and a majority of this committee must be composed of faculty who have doctoral-level membership with SGPS. The members of this committee must be confirmed by Dec. 31 of Year 3 (or no more than 6 months from passing comps, whichever is first). This committee “assists in the development of the candidate's research plan and thesis proposal, provides advice and criticism on the planning and writing of the thesis…” (more)
This exam is sometimes referred to as the proposal defense. Students must pass this exam within by August 31 of year 3.