Special Issue of Management Revue
Matthias Rätzer, Technical University Chemnitz, Germany
Ronald Hartz, Technical University Chemnitz, Germany
Ingo Winkler, University of Southern Denmark
For a couple of years now growth-driven societies have been in a permanent state of crisis. Since 2007 the global financial crisis and its aftermath are challenging our ideas of growth, well-being, consumption and work within global capitalism. Consequently, critical scholars in management and organization studies have begun to advocate alternative forms of organization and to problematize the collective imagination that ‘there is no alternative to growth’ (Parker et al. 2014; Atzeni 2012).
One important analytical dimension within the search for alternatives relates to the limits of growth in its economic, ecological and social dimension. For example, Meadows et al. (2004) explicate that a finite (world) system cannot handle an everlasting orientation toward growth without running into a collapse. Hirsch (1976) argues that social rise in a stratified society smolders, leading to social imbalances in the long term. Several authors discuss economic restrictions under the name of de-growth (Georgescu-Roegen 1977; Latouche 2009; Martínez Alier et al. 2010; Schneider et al. 2010; Kallis 2013). Schneider et al. (2010) point towards unfulfilled expectations in the context of creating win-win-situations and question the possibility of sustainable growth through technological and efficiency improvements. Relative to the social context, others discuss the label steady-state-economy, which challenges the relationship between growth and labor, solvency and consolidated public finances (Daly 1972, 1973; Lawn 2011; Blauwhof 2012).
However, there exist only few contributions discussing organizational alternatives to an orientation toward growth (Cheney et al. 2014). Some authors address growth neutral enterprises (Bakker et al. 1999; White/White 2012). Others note that neither governments nor private sector executives have any incentives supporting the development of a post-growth environment (e.g. Latouche, 2006; Ayres, 2008; Martínez Alier 2009). Therefore, the specific aim of this special issue is to substantiate the debate on post-growth, steady-state and de-growth from an organizational perspective. How can organizations respond to the limits of economic growth? How can organizations, from a post-growth perspective, promote their social worth as opposed to their monetary worth? How can organizations implement the elements of a post-growth economy, such as cutting-down and slowing down, a balance between sufficiency and dependency on consumption, institutional innovations for the society, the environment and regional economy (Paech, 2016)?
In addressing post-growth organizations (PGOs), we assume alternative organizations, featuring individual autonomy and respect, an orientation towards solidarity and cooperation, and responsibility to the future (Parker et al., 2014) to constitute a fertile ground for PGOs. Furthermore, we could imagine PGOs to develop from associations, growth neutral enterprises, co-operations, solidarity organizations, grass-root movements or even ‘traditional’ enterprises. Eventually, we do not restrict our focus on PGOs to the economic domain, but also take social and ecologic concerns, such as social entrepreneurs, into account. We call for contributions discussing different perspectives on PGOs, investigating their characteristics and limits. Furthermore, we embrace contributions investigating the range and coverage of PGOs as an organizational possibility in a future, post-growth society.
The contributions to this special issue should address one or more of the following questions:
- What characterizes the organization and the management of ‘post-growth organizations’ (PGOs)?
- Which role do the principles of autonomy, solidarity and responsibility play in PGOs? What kind of problems, contradictions and conjoint amplification are observable regarding these principles?
- Do PGOs enable us to cure some of the organizational ills created by a narrow focus on economic growth?
- What are the limits and prospects of PGOs in the transformation of capitalism?
- What organizational practices, tools and instruments are important in PGOs (e.g. accounting practices, compensation practices, decision making, regulations of working time, work-life balance, forms of participation etc.)?
- Is it possible to turn traditional organizations into PGOs?
- Which strategies (e.g. overcoming of externally defined difficulties, internal processes of storytelling, micro politics, adjustment of power) can be identified in the constitution and management of PGOs and which practices in PGOs are working well and which are not?
- This is not an exhaustive list.
Potential contributors to the Special Issue of Management Revue are encouraged to submit an abstract of 1-2 pages before 30 September 2016 electronically via the online submission system at http://www.management-revue.org/submission/ using ‘Post-Growth Organization’ as article section. Contributors will receive feedback and an invitation to submit a full paper by the end of October 2016.
Full papers must be submitted by 31 March 2017. All contributions will be subject to a double-blind review. Papers invited to a ‘revise and resubmit’ are due 31 August 2017.