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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Seray Ergene

Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Organization Theorizing for Sustainability: Un-Making People and Nature Exploitable


In this paper, I argue that the current status of sustainability research in management and organization studies is insufficient for providing necessary conceptual tools to analyze the ecological practices of contemporary organizations. In particular, the prevailing competition centered worldview carried by normalized political-economic premises, prevents us from observing contradictions in intentions of our theories. To address these concerns, here I propose alternative analytic concepts provided by feminist ecological perspectives. Specifically, these concepts re-tune our focus on the material processes of everyday life and center attention on the well-being of natural and cultural ecologies. I explore and discuss the value of these analytic concepts with empirical examples drawn from my multi-sited ethnographic research, opening theoretical possibilities for un-making ‘people’ and ‘nature’ exploitable.


Seray Ergene is a Ph.D. Candidate in Organization Studies at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also completed a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies at the same university. Her research is informed by Corporate Sustainability literature, Strategy-as-Practice research, and Feminist Ecological theories, and she aims to contribute to Organizations and Management Theory by bridging micro and macro levels of analyses with ethnographic studies. Her dissertation project looks at sustainability practices of a US corporation whose production operations are outsourced to developing countries. Through a multi-sited ethnography of this company and its global value chains, she narrates longitudinal case studies and advances theoretical frameworks for envisioning sustainable and just organizations. Her other recent work is forthcoming in the journal Gender, Work and Organization, and she has presented at multiple international conferences including AOM, EGOS and SMS.

Seray Ergene

Seray Ergene

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