This paper examines the challenges confronting corporate change leaders, faced with the task of reconceiving established organisations in response to an emerging ‘sustainability’ paradigm, and of convincing change followers to engage with the concrete, organisational expression of that new paradigm. Successful adaptation requires change leaders, first, to achieve their own conceptual shift – a ‘reconception’ of the purpose, priorities and strategies of the institution. They must then be able to convince their change followers to embrace the concrete institutional changes that reflect the shift. In this context, the paper proposes that the ‘pilot’ programme, often utilised by change agents, may serve to bridge the conceptual thinking gap between leader and follower, by providing a concrete experience of the envisioned destination.
We explore some of the changes in mental models that need to be made if organisational thinking is to take the important step from fragmentation and ‘scarcity’, to integration and ‘abundance’. We describe the important role of commercial enterprise, which is naturally integrative, in grappling with some of these critical issues. Finally, we propose a special role for the ‘civic entrepreneur’, who shares with the corporate world a capacity and respect for integrative enterprise, but is not constrained by inherited institutional rigidities. Civic entrepreneurs pursue the creation of ‘common’ or community wealth – value created over and above the cost of financial, social and natural capital. In doing so, they become a resource for the corporate change leader. By ‘piloting’ new models of integration and abundance, civic entrepreneurs can provide conceptual inspiration to corporate change leaders. But they can also present corporate change followers, vicariously, with a concrete experience of ‘sustainability’ – examples of enterprise-based sustainability in practice.
|Keywords:||Organisational Sustainability, Civic Entrepreneurship, Paradigm Shift, Pilot|
Senior Lecturer, University of Adelaide Business School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
University of Adelaide Business School, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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