Radical reformism: towards critical ecological modernization


  • Renato J. Orsato,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for the Management of Environmental and Social Responsibility (CMER), INSEAD, France
    • Senior Research Fellow, Centre for the Management of Environmental and Social Responsibility (CMER), INSEAD – Boulevard de Constance, 77305 Fontainebleau Cedex, France.
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  • Stewart R. Clegg

    1. ICAN Research Centre, School of Management, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia
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According to a specialized research area within environmental sociology – ecological modernization theory – the shift towards seeking to protect the environment constitutes a broadly emergent sociological phenomenon: the radicalization of modernity. The understanding of the fundamentals of such phenomenon is, therefore, crucial for both the practice and theorization of organization and environment. This is the main reason why this paper seeks to incorporate ideas from the disciplines of both environmental sociology and organization theory. By delving into the main sources of dynamism that ‘produced’ modernity the paper argues that a sustainable organizational practice depends on the incorporation of a special type of radicalism into ecological modernization. The paper anchors its main arguments in research conducted in the European automobile industry – a socio-technical context undergoing ecological modernization. The main conclusions of the paper relate to the nature of the reforms required for organizational practices to facilitate sustainable industrial development. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.