Transdisciplinarity in Corporate Sustainability: Mapping the Field

Authors

  • Stefan Schaltegger,

    Corresponding author
    • Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM), Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
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  • Markus Beckmann,

    1. Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM), Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
    2. School of Business and Economics, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Nürnberg, Germany
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  • Erik G. Hansen

    1. Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM), Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
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Correspondence to: Stefan Schaltegger, Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM), Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany. E-mail: schaltegger@uni.leuphana.de

ABSTRACT

Sustainability challenges are complex. So are the challenges that business firms encounter in their corresponding quest for corporate sustainability. Given this complexity, there is a need for new approaches to corporate sustainability management research. We discuss transdisciplinarity as such a novel approach in three steps. After showing that specialization is the primary conventional response to increasing complexity, we first briefly compare how inter-, multi- and transdisciplinarity reintegrate decentralized, specialized knowledge. The second step describes how the emerging sustainability science has recently advanced the transdisciplinary methodology. Based on the two dimensions of interdisciplinarity and academia–practice collaboration, we third generate a framework for mapping existing research approaches in terms of their transdisciplinary qualities. We use this framework to identify room for novel methodologies in sustainability management research. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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