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Termite Tales: Organisational Change—A Personal View of Sustainable Development in a University—As Seen from the ‘Tunnels’

  • Jack ChristianEmail author
  • Liz Walley
Chapter
Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)

Abstract

This paper tells the story of an ongoing greening process in a HE Institution from the perspective of an individual on the ‘shop floor’. It adds to the work of Walley and Stubbs (1999, 2000) on organisational greening at the level of the individual in context. Adopting Morgan’s (1993) metaphor of how termite mounds—organizations—are shaped, the 2000 paper investigated the role of the environmental champions in large organisations exploring the notion of strategic termites as inspiration for would-be environmental change agents. Whilst Walley and Stubbs (2000) focused on formally appointed champions, this paper records the journey of an informal agent, taking place against a backdrop of organisational change in a large university. Although much of this change had little to do with greening it presented opportunities for an industrious termite to tint the mound a little greener. The journey notes successes and failures from the ‘termite’s’ perspective and how his thinking gradually shifted from purely opportunistic to something more strategic. The strategic termite metaphor aids the interpretation of this journey. It is hoped this paper will inspire would-be sustainability change agents. Like termites we all move along seemingly predetermined pathways but if we remain sensitive to our surroundings, opportunities to reshape the future will present themselves.

Keywords

Metaphor Greening Sensemaking Inspiration Change agent 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Accounting, Finance and EconomicsManchester Metropolitan University Business SchoolManchesterUK
  2. 2.Department of ManagementManchester Metropolitan University Business SchoolManchesterUK

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