- Paperback: 244 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (July 10, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1783531959
- ISBN-13: 978-1783531950
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,234,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A New Psychology for Sustainability Leadership: The Hidden Power of Ecological Worldviews 1st Edition
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"There is no question that this is the most critical time in human history and what we do or dont do will make the difference as to whether we evolve or perish. Steve Schein is one of those people whose passion and commitment corresponds to the necessary turnings of our time. With warmth and originality, he shows how we are the pilgrims and parents of this emerging new era and how old formulas and stop gap solutions will no longer serve. His science with regard to sustainability is impeccable, his insights into the changing face of business management and philosophy are powerful and truth-telling. His deep exploration of the psyche and substance of 75 corporate executives displays the basis for hope in transforming leadership and thereby, in the words of the ancient myths, new ways of bringing the "greening" to the wasteland." (Dr. Jean Houston, author and Consultant)
"I've been waiting for a book like this for over ten years! One of the most crucial things missing in nearly all sustainability discussions is an understanding of how to foster the growth of ecological worldviews. Schein redresses this through his study of the most advanced forms of sustainability leadership. In the process, he makes a powerful case that such an approach is essential to the future of sustainability leadership." (Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, co-author, 'Integral Ecology'; Founder & President, MetaIntegral Associates)
"By focusing on the psychological dimension of sustainability leadership, Schein's book fills a vital gap in the change-makers' toolkit. Given the scale and urgency of our global challenges, we desperately need bold action from our leaders. With a skilful mix of personal narrative, theoretical insights and fresh research, Schein helps us better understand what drives sustainability leaders - and what we need to do to turn the trickle of change into a flood." (Dr. Wayne Visser, University of Cambridge, Founder & CEO)
"This book is a tour de force, beautifully charting a path to planet-changing leadership. If you want to deepen your impact and cultivate the capacity to lead transformational change, Scheins done the research. He guides you through the science of a stunning new psychology that can lead us out of the labyrinth and into a future we all want. This book and the worldview it heralds will deeply unlock potential for any change agent working toward a flourishing world." (Barrett C. Brown, PhD, Co-Founder of MetaIntegral Academy)
"Although academic in format, this book feels like a dinner party conversation that lasts late into an evening because it is so compelling. Evolving our core consciousness is an important quest for us and for our children and grandchildren. More immediately, besides business curriculum, this book has deep implications for HR, hiring and executive succession planning." (Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England)
"By offering a fascinating new perspective about the psychology of sustainability leadership, this book opens an entirely new type of conversation. It should be required reading for corporate executives, management educators, and business students everywhere." (Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group)
"In this refreshingly readable book, Steve Schein develops the basis for a psychology of successful sustainability leadership by engaging us with his own story of growing awareness of his direct interdependence with the environment, as well as with stories of the 75 corporate executives he interviewed." (Bill Torbert, PhD)
"Helping people and organizations understand their relationship to, and dependency on, nature is critical to creating the lasting change and sustainable future we all want. In A New Psychology for Sustainability Leadership Steve Schein explores the important psychological connection people have to nature in hopes of sparking new conversations and research around corporate sustainability leadership." (Josh Henretig, Senior Director Energy, Environment & Cities)
"In this deeply thoughtful book, Steven Schein illuminates our many ways of thinking about sustainability. He shows how some of these mental maps allow us more motivation, more commitment, and in fact, more degrees of freedom to address these critical challenges to our very survival than others. Marrying insights from psychology with an exploration of the thoughts and experiences of corporate sustainability leaders, Schein not only helps us identify the journey that is required of us all, but he provides the road map for our travels." (Mary C. Gentile, PhD)
"In this well researched book, Schein shines a light on a poorly considered yet key aspect of sustainability leaders: the worldviews shaping their actions. If as one executive observed it, that in ten years there will be no "green" companies - because it will be the standard requirement to operate, we need to rapidly create new educational approaches to develop the worldviews of the new generation of leaders. The good news is that we have available the greatest tools for this task, and they are in the hidden power of the ecological worldview. Something to re-learn that can mean the difference between our civilization's breakdown and breakthrough. And it's at our fingertips." (Isabel Rimanoczy, Scholar in Residence)
About the Author
Steve Schein is a sustainability leadership educator, researcher, and executive coach. After 25 years in the corporate world and 10 in academia, he sees the evolution of business leadership and education towards ecological sustainability a global imperative. To that end, his research focuses on the development of ecological and post-conventional worldviews in the setting of multinational corporate leadership. He has been a member of the faculty at Southern Oregon University since 2005, where he founded the certificate program in sustainability leadership. Prior to joining the faculty at SOU, he was a certified public accountant (CPA) and former CEO with senior management experience in several companies. Dr. Schein’s research has been published in The Journal of Corporate Citizenship, The Journal of Management of Global Sustainability, and presented at numerous conferences on corporate social and environmental responsibility. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Net Impact (https://netimpact.org) and the GEOS Institute (http://www.geosinstitute.org). He can be reached through his website at www.steveschein.net.
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Thus, this repurposed doctoral dissertation steps into the breech. It opens a much-needed conversation about the shifts we need to take—not just our own small groups but the entire business culture—so that sustainability thinking percolates even more deeply into the culture. Schein spends a lot of energy calling for a more eco-focused worldview, including integrating sustainability thinking into the standard MBA curriculum—not just the MBA programs in sustainability.
To Schein—and I agree with him on this—the biggest shift we need to take is from an anthrocentric (human-focused) to an eco-centered (planet-focused).
How far do we have to go? Schein, in a book with this year’s copyright, says the average resident of the United States eats 400 pounds of petroleum per year, once we factor in all of the Big Ag practices that make up most of our food supply (“machinery, fertilizers, pesticides, processing, and transportation”, p. 6). On the same page, he cites Lester Brown’s warning that food and water shortages can lead directly to political instability.
Most of the book is quotes from interviews he conducted with executives in the corporate and NGO worlds charged with developing and carrying out the corporate sustainability program, and his narrative interpreting and analyzing the results.
He sees the job of Chief Sustainability Officers, or eco-minded CEOs as translating sustainability into the rest of the business world (p. 146). Noting that we desperately need business models aimed not at corporate growth but on profitably reducing the negative consequences of human intervention (p. 76), Schein calls out five different ways (pp. 72-84) his interviewees have self-identified their worldviews:
Awareness of ecological embeddedness—that a business vision must encompass the environmental context
* Awareness that planetary ecosystems are vulnerable
* Belief that nature has intrinsic value
* Holistic, systemic consciousness
This level of thinking, he says, evolves over time—and he speculates that one reason so much sustainability thinking is bubbling up right now is simply that people are living longer and have more time for their thinking to evolve. On this, I’m not so sure I agree; I see this consciousness fairly evolved among my children’s generation, but what does evolve is the ability to work in complex, sometimes-frustrating, often-hierarchical organizations to make the change.
Schein’s book should be seen as opening the conversation, rather than a definitive Great Work. His action steps are rather limited, and the book has a few key flaws: small sample size (only 75 corporate and NGO sustainability professionals), an inexcusable failure to identify the sources of each quote—which, in turn, makes it impossible not just to track who said what in terms of the specific challenges and accomplishments of that person’s company—a flaw he acknowledges on page 186—but also impossible to follow up with any interviewee beyond the book (seeking a mentor, interviewing for a book, etc.), the lack of an index, and repetition of several interviewee quotes in such a short text.
One nice thing is the inclusion of a questionnaire that future researchers can use in expanding the dialog. Another is his reminder of Buckminster Fuller’s observation that any of us can be a “human trim tab” (the part of a large ship that makes it easier to turn the rudder, p. 167); any one of us can be an agent of real change.
Thank you Dr. Schein!