Advertisement

Hybrid Challenges in Times of Changing Institutional Conditions: The Rise and Fall of The Natural Step as a Multivocal Bridge Builder

  • Susanna Alexius
  • Staffan Furusten
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter reports on a life story of a hybrid organization, The Natural Step (TNS), that was founded in order to foster sustainability in society as a necessary philosophy for saving the planet. The organization was established as a hybrid that blended the logics of science, activism and consulting. Staying in this position was, however, not without challenge. The chapter contributes to discussions on management in hybrid organizations by highlighting when and why hybrids face particular challenges and how managers may struggle to deal with them. Over time, TNS gradually became de-hybridized into a management consultancy. The chapter concludes with a section on dilemmas faced by hybrid managers in cultivating and maintaining a hybrid identity over longer periods of time.

Keywords

Hybrid identity Cultivating hybridity Bridge building Path generation De-hybridization 

References

  1. Alexius, Susanna, Staffan Furusten, and Andreas Werr. 2017. As Flies Around the Goodies – Popular Management Ideas and Emerging Fields of Expertise, the Case of CSR. In Expert Society and Organization, ed. Staffan Furusten and Andreas Werr. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Alvesson, Mats, and Kaj Sköldberg. 1994. Tolkning och reflektion: vetenskapsfilosofi och kvalitativ metod. Lund: Studentlitteratur.Google Scholar
  3. Boström, Magnus. 2001. Miljörörelsens mångfald. Stockholm: Stockholm University.Google Scholar
  4. Bothello, Joel, and Marie-Laure Salles-Djelic. 2018. Evolving Conceptualizations of Organizational Environmentalism: A Path Generation Account. Organization Studies: 1–27.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840617693272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. “Brundtland Report”. 1987. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. UN Documents.Google Scholar
  6. DiMaggio, Paul, and Walter Powell. 1983. The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields. American Sociological Review 48 (2): 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Frostenson, Magnus. 2010. How Consultants Contribute to CSR Innovation. Combining Competencies and Modifying Standards. In Innovative CSR – From Risk Management to Value Creation, ed. C. Louche, O. Idowu, and W. Leal Filho, 352–373. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Furusten, Staffan. 2013. Institutional Theory and Organizational Change. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Greenwood, M., and R.E. Freeman. 2017. Focusing on Ethics and Broadening our Intellectual Base. Journal of Business Ethics 140: 1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jancsary, Dennis, Renate Meyer, Markus Höllerer, and Barberio Vitaliano. 2017. Toward a Structural Model of Organizational-Level Institutional Pluralism and Logic Inter Connectedness. Organization Science 28 (6): 1150–1167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rehn, Alf. 2006. The Scholar’s Progress – Essays on Academic Life and Survival. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Robèrt, Karl-Henrik. 1992. Det nödvändiga steget. (The Necessary Step). Kristianstad: Affärsförlaget mediautveckling.Google Scholar
  13. ———. 1995. Den naturliga utmaningen. (The Natural Challenge). Falun: Ekerlids Förlag.Google Scholar
  14. ———. 2002. The Natural Step Story – Seeding a Quiet Revolution. Gabriola Island: New Catalyst Books.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2017. Ledarskapskonflikt bakom Naturliga Stegets konkurs. Aktuell Hållbarhet, March 2. http://www.aktuellhallbarhet.se/det-naturliga-steget-lagger-ner-verksamheten/.
  16. Robèrt, K.-H., B. Schmidt-Bleek, J. Aloisi de Larderel, G. Basile, J.L. Jansen, R. Kuehr, P. Price Thomas, M. Suzuki, P. Hawken, and M. Wackernagel. 2002. Strategic Sustainable Development: Selection, Design and Synergies of Applied Tools. Journal of Cleaner Production 10: 197–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Windell, Karolina. 2006. Corporate Social Responsibility Under Construction: Ideas, Translations and Institutional Change. Uppsala: Uppsala University.Google Scholar
  18. Zack, Michael. 2000. Jazz Improvisation and Organization: Once More from the Top. Organization Science 11 (2): 227–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Interviews

  1. The nine interviews drawn on in this chapter were conducted in 2013 and are listed below in chronological order, with the informants’ titles at the time of the interview. Each informant was interviewed once.Google Scholar
  2. Interview 1. Founder of TNS. Interview conducted 18 April 2013.Google Scholar
  3. Interview 2. Secretary general of TNS. Interview conducted April 19 2013.Google Scholar
  4. Interview 3. Advisor at TNS. Interview conducted 19 April 2013.Google Scholar
  5. Interview 4. Communication manager at TNS. Interview conducted 22 April 2013.Google Scholar
  6. Interview 5. Advisor at TNS. Interview conducted 22 April 2013.Google Scholar
  7. Interview 6. Advisor at TNS. Interview conducted 29 April 2013.Google Scholar
  8. Interview 7. Advisor at TNS. Interview conducted 13 May 2013.Google Scholar
  9. Interview 8. Advisor at TNS. Interview conducted 13 May 2013.Google Scholar
  10. Interview 9. Chair of the TNS board. Interview conducted 14 May 2013.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ScoreStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Stockholm School of EconomicsStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations