Should environmental concern pay off? A Heideggerian perspective
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SourceOrganization Studies, 37, 4, (2016), pp. 547-564
11 november 2015
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectInstitute for Management Research
Organizations often motivate their environmental efforts by arguing that ‘good ethics is good business’. Though instrumental arguments of this nature put environmental concerns firmly on the corporate agenda, it comes at a price. Such reasoning relies on age-old fact-value distinctions, from which perspective rational subjects must gather the facts on how to treat the environment as a useful object. According to this logic, means-to-an-end relationships are the primary motivation for all action. Drawing on the insights of Martin Heidegger, we show how the preoccupation with gathering facts to justify environmental initiatives on the basis of ‘efficiency’ impoverishes our thinking about what is essential to our existence. Heidegger’s thinking allows us to appreciate how our belonging to a particular ethos orientates us in the world in meaningful ways. We therefore advocate an approach to organizational environmentalism that goes beyond ‘the business case’, without appealing to abstract normative principles. This approach also provides new perspectives on what notions such as ‘ecological citizenship’ may entail.
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