Professor Suzanne Benn

Biography

Professor Suzanne Benn is Professor of Sustainable Enterprise in School of Management, UTS Business School. In this position she provides leadership within the Business School and across UTS, working with other disciplinary areas and external stakeholders to promote sustainability. She was previously Professor of Education for Sustainability, Director of ARIES and Head of the Graduate School of the Environment at Macquarie University, Sydney.

Suzanne has a background in the sciences and the social sciences. She has had wide experience working across the range of educational sectors and as a research and industrial scientist. Her current research interests range across corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility, business education for sustainability and organisational change and development for sustainability. Her interdisciplinary academic publications include three books and more than 90 refereed journal articles, book chapters and refereed conference papers.

She has led consultancy and research projects on the topic of corporate social responsibility, organisational change and sustainability for a number of Australian organisations. She has also conducted major Australian Research Council grant funded projects on topics such as the communication of corporate social responsibility through social networks, collaboration and governance for sustainability.

Professor Benn has modified and taught curriculum on sustainable business at the University of Shanghai, and led the introduction of these programs into the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum at UTS and at Macquarie. She has a strong interest in interdisciplinary curriculum development and holistic approaches to learning for sustainability. Professor Benn also has a number of PhD students in the area of corporate social responsibility, sustainability and education, learning and change for sustainability.

Image of Suzanne Benn
Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, Management Discipline Group
Core Member, Centre for Corporate Governance
Core Member, Centre for Management and Organisation Studies
GradDipEd (SCAE), MScSoc (UNSW), PhD (UNSW)
Download CV  (PDF 364kb, 12 pages)
Phone
+61 2 9514 3060
Room
CB05C.04.25A

Research Interests

Corporate Sustainability

Can supervise: Yes

Corporate sustainability, Corporate social responsibility, Education for sustainability, Organisational change and development, Organisational change and leadership for sustainability

Book Chapters

Dunphy, D.C. & Benn, S.H. 2013, 'Leadership for sustainable futures' in Rune Todnem By and Bernard Burnes (eds), Organizational Change, Leadership and Ethics, Routledge, Great Britain, pp. 195-215.
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The UN's successive International Panel on Climate Change Reports show the immediacy of the ecological crisis facing the planet (Flannery, 2010). Global climate change is not something that will affect future generations; it is already affecting our own generation as Arctic ice and permafrost melt, seas become more acidic, desertification intensifies and extreme weather conditions increase in number and intensity. In addition, the limitations of known oil reserves (peak oil) combined with increasing demand for oil from India, China and South-East Asia will increasingly threaten established oil-based patterns of human interaction such as cheap land and air transport as well as oil-based food production. These problems will be further exacerbated by a growing global population. The developed economies therefore need to move from their current extreme dependence on fossil fuels (the carbon economy) and substitute energy produced from alternative energy sources (the carbon-neutral economy). How are we doing on achieving this goal? We have recently seen at the UN's Copenhagen Climate summit that political leaders were high on rhetoric before the summit but failed to achieve effective international collaboration on actions to halt and/or reverse climate change. As a result, emissions in all nations are increasing and we face a growing world food crisis.
Benn, S.H. & Rusinko, C.A. 2013, 'Boundary objects, HRM tools and change for sustainability' in Malcolm McIntosh (ed), The Necessary Transition. The Journey towards the Sustainable Enterprise Economy, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield UK, pp. 154-170.
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This chapter illustrates a novel approach to using boundary objects (BOs) as change agents. In particular, the chapter illustrates how tools from stages of the human resources management (HRM) process can be used as BOs in order to facilitate changes necessary to create and maintain more sustainable organisations. BOs, which are discussed in greater detail below, can translate, transfer and! or create knowledge across diverse boundaries or groups of stakeholders. In organisations, ~Os can translate, transfer and!or create knowledge between and among functions, departments and other groups, This chapter illustrates how knowledge about sustainability can be translated, transferred and! or created between and among all organisational functions by using HRM tools as BOs. It builds on arguments made by other scholars (e.g. Jabbour and Santos 2008) that the HR function should be integrated with organisational sustainability by formulating HRM policies and practices that stimulate the social, economic and environmental strategies of the organisation. It also builds on earlier work analYSing the role of BOs in generating and supporting organisational change (Oswick and Robertson 2009), and on the role ofBOs in underpinning the formation of a community of practice around sustainability (Benn and Martin 2010).
Benn, S.H. & Kearins, K. 2012, 'The Routledge Companion to Organizational Change' in D. Boje, B. Burnes, J. Hassard (eds), Routledge Handbook of Organizational Change, Routledge, London & New York, pp. 535-551.
Sustainability is both a contested concept and a social movement of our time. It has different meanings for different people, and is used in a wide variety of contexts, not least in relation to organizations including business. Sustainability is increasingly tied to other concepts such as corporate accountability, responsibility and citizenship. These concepts direct attention to the implication of organizations in wider environmental, social and political as well as economic systems. Business, in particular, is positioned as a key source o f problems relating to global unsustainability, and managers of all types of organizations are being tasked with the resolution of such problems.
Benn, S.H. & Kearins, K. 2012, 'Sustainability and organizational change' in David M. Boje, Bernard Burnes and John Hassard (eds), The Routledge Companion to Organizational Change, Routledge, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 535-551.
Sustainability is both a contested concept and a social movement of our time. It has different meanings for different people, and is used in a wide variety of contexts, not least in relation to organizations including business. Sustainability is increasingly tied to other concepts such as corporate accountability, responsibility and citizenship. These concepts direct attention to the implication of organizations in wider environmental, social and political as well as economic systems. Business, in particular, is positioned as a key source of problems relating to global unsustainability, and managers of all types of organizations are being tasked with the resolution of such problems.
Benn, S.H. 2012, 'Governance for Sustainability: Challenges for Theory and Practice' in Thomas Clarke and Douglas Branson (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Corporate Governance, SAGE, London, pp. 612-627.
Corporate governance refers to the mechanisms and frameworks necessary for corporate decision-making. From the perspective of corporate sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR), however, governance refers to managing competing corporate interests for the organisation, for the wider good of society, and for the planet as a whole (Benn & Bolton, 2011). Despite the recent financial crisis, there is evidence that many senior managers continue to perceive good governance, CSR and corporate sustainability as fundamental to the long-term successful operations of any organisation. In the recent 13th Annual Global chief executive officer (CEO) survey by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, for example, more CEOs raised climate change investment during the crisis than reduced it and more than two-thirds thought such strategies would confer reputational advantages.
Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C. & Perrott, B. 2011, 'Preface' in S, Benn, D. Dunphy, B. Perrott (eds), Cases in Corporate Sustainability & Change: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Tilde University Press, Prahhan, Vic, pp. i-xxiv.
Today humankind faces two major crises. The first is the global financial crisis (GFC) which began in the second half of 2008 and was initiated by the near meltdown of the world's financial system. The second is the ecological crisis, particularly climate change - a crisis that has been slowly building since the industrial revolution. The ecological crisis is now gaining momentum as we witness the meltdown of the world's glaciers, permafrost and sea ice - and a range of related issues such as widespread weather volatility, desertification and food shortages. The governments of the world's leading nation states acted quickly and decisively to reduce the impact of the GFC but have been unable or unwilling to establish agreement for action on the ecological crisis.
Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C. & Angus-Leppan, T. 2011, 'Fuji Xerox Australia Eco Manufacturing Centre: A case study in strategic sustainability' in S, Benn, D. Dunphy, B. Perrott (eds), Cases in Corporate Sustainability & Change: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Tilde University Press, Prahhan, Vic, pp. 28-41.
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Today humankind faces two major crises. The first is the global financial crisis that began in 2008. The second is ecological and has been slowly building since the industrial revolution. The ecological crisis is now gaining momentum as we witness the meltdown of the world's glaciers and a range of related issues such as widespread weather volatility, desertification and food shortages. The two crises are intimately related. In the words of leading ecologist Tim Flannery: 'We have become the 'future eaters', living beyond the earth's ability to replace the resources we consume'. As a consequence, there is a need for up-to-date, relevant course materials-and particularly case studies-addressing the challenges ahead. Corporate sustainability is increasingly central to strategy in modern businesses. Learning about sustainability lends itself to the use of case studies because: (1) case studies demonstrate that sustainability is not some fantasy but a business imperative; (2) sustainability issues do not come in neat packages but cut across the traditional academic disciplines; and (3) case studies allow the relevance of theories to be tested. As the title of this book indicates, the primary emphasis is on corporate sustainability but an emphasis has also been placed on corporate change. Sustainability will not be achieved through technological fixes alo? corporate culture needs to change also.
Chelliah, J. & Benn, S.H. 2011, 'Hewlett Packard's supply chain' in S, Benn, D. Dunphy, B. Perrott (eds), Cases in Corporate Sustainability & Change: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Tilde University Press, Prahhan, Vic, pp. 42-47.
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Hewlett Packard (HP) is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. It has products and services that span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging, as well as printing for consumers, enterprises and small and medium businesses. This case focuses on HP as a global company and associate& global supply chain issues.
Crittenden, P.M., Benn, S.H. & Dunphy, D.C. 2011, 'Yarra Valley Water: Learning and change for sustainability' in S, Benn, D. Dunphy, B. Perrott (eds), Cases in Corporate Sustainability & Change: A Multidisciplinary Approach, Tilde University Press, Prahhan, Vic, pp. 147-161.
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Today humankind faces two major crises. The first is the global financial crisis which began in 2008. The second is ecological and has been slowly building since the industrial revolution. The ecological crisis is now gaining momentum as we witness the meltdown of the world+s glaciers and a range of related issues such as widespread weather volatility, desertification and food shortages. The two crises are intimately related. In the words of leading ecologist Tim Flannery: `We have become the `future eaters+, living beyond the earth+s ability to replace the resources we consume+. As a consequence, there is a need for up-to-date, relevant course materials+and particularly case studies+addressing the challenges ahead. Cases in Corporate Sustainability and Change: A Multidisciplinary Approach includes Australian and New Zealand as well as international cases. Corporate sustainability is increasingly central to strategy in modern businesses. Learning about sustainability lends itself to the use of case studies because: (1) case studies demonstrate that sustainability is not some fantasy but a business imperative; (2) sustainability issues do not come in neat packages but cut across the traditional academic disciplines; and (3) case studies allow the relevance of theories to be tested. As the title of this book indicates, the primary emphasis is on corporate sustainability but an emphasis has also been placed on corporate change. Sustainability will not be achieved through technological fixes alone; corporate culture needs to change also.
Martin, A., Benn, S.H. & Dunphy, D.C. 2007, 'Towards a Model of Governance for Sustainability: Networks, Shared Values and New Knowledge' in Suzanne Benn and Dexter Dunphy (eds), Corporate Governance and Sustainability: Challenges for Theory and Practice, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 94-121.
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Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C. & Griffiths, A.B. 2007, 'Synthesising Governance Themes from Political and Management Theory' in Suzanne Benn and Dexter Dunphy (eds), Corporate Governance and Sustainability: Challenges for Theory and Practice, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 76-93.
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In this chapter we explore, both theoretica lly and empirically, how the relationship between political systems and corporate governance practices can be used to progress corporate sustainability. We argue that corporate sustainabil ity is facili tated by ' total responsibility management ' , as outlined by Waddock et al. (2002). Waddock et al. 2002 argue that corporate sustainability requires internal corporate governance to move beyond compliance to the holistic approach of 'total responsibil ity management' .
Benn, S.H. & Dunphy, D.C. 2007, 'New Forms of Governance: Changing Relationships between Corporates, Government and Community' in Suzanne Benn and Dexter Dunphy (eds), Corporate Governance and Sustainability: Challenges for Theory and Practice, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 9-35.
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Benn, S.H., Wilson, L. & Low, S. 2007, 'The Case of Governance for Sustainability at IAG' in Suzanne Benn and Dexter Dunphy (eds), Corporate Governance and Sustainability: Challenges for Theory and Practice, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 187-205.
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Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C. & Griffiths, A.B. 2007, 'Integrating Human and Ecological Factors: a Systematic Approach to Corporate Sustainability' in D. Marinova, D. Annandale and J. Phillimore (eds), The International Handbook on Environmental Technology Managemant, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 222-240.
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In this chapter we propose an integrated perspective on organizational change, which is designed to progress the corporation to a position of both human and ecological sustainability. Human sustainability is defined here as the development and fulfilment of human needs whilst ecological sustainability is the protection and renewal of the biosphere. The chapter defines key steps along the way to this organization of the future and explains ways of achieving an incremental or, in some cases, a transformative transition to the fully sustainable and sustaining corporation. Case studies of both incremental and transformative change are also provided to illustrate how organizations have moved toward ecological sustainability through the development of their human sustainability.
Jermier, J., Forbes, L.C., Benn, S.H. & Orsato, R.J. 2006, 'The new corporate environmentalism & green politics' in Clegg, S; Hardy, C; Lawrence, T; Nord, W (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Organization Studies, Sage Publications, London, UK, pp. 618-650.
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Benn, S.H. & Probert, J. 2006, 'Incremental change towards sustainability: integrating human and ecological factors for efficiency' in Schaltegger, S; Wagner, M (eds), Managing the Business Case for Sustainability - the integration of social, environmental and economic performance, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, UK, pp. 542-552.
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Benn, S.H., Griffiths, A.B. & Dunphy, D.C. 2005, 'Changing corporate culture to an environmental ethos' in Staib,R (eds), Environmental Management and Decision Making for Business, Palgrave, Hampshire, UK, pp. 180-191.
Griffiths, A.B., Benn, S.H. & Dunphy, D.C. 2005, 'Organisational structures and roles' in Staib,R (eds), Environmental Management and Decision Making for Business, Palgrave, Hampshire, UK, pp. 169-179.
Griffiths, A.B., Dunphy, D.C. & Benn, S.H. 2005, 'Corporate sustainability: integrating human and ecological sustainability approaches' in Starik, M; Sharma, S; Egri, C; Bunch, R (eds), New Horizons in Research on Sustainable Organisations - Emerging Ideas, Approaches and Tools for Practitioners and Researchers, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, UK, pp. 166-186.
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Benn, S.H. & Onyx, J.A. 2005, 'Negotiating interorganizational domains: The politics of social, natural, and symbolic capital' in Dale, A; Onyx, J (eds), A Dynamic Balance: Social Capital and Sustainable Community Development, UCB Press, Vancouver, Canada, pp. 87-104.
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Benn, S.H. & Bubna-Litic, D.C. 2004, 'Is the MBA sustainable? Degrees of change' in Galea, C (eds), Teaching Business Sustainability (Volume 1): from theory to practice, Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, UK, pp. 82-94.
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Books

Benn, S.H. & Bolton, D. 2011, Key Concepts of Corporate Social Responsibility, 1, Sage, United Kingdom.
Introducing the key concepts in corporate social responsibility, Suzanne Benn brings together the essential issues relevant to the responsible management of businesses, not-for-profit organizations and government. With detailed coverage and cross-referencing for each concept and over 50 concepts introduced, this guide to both the theory and implementation of CSR and sustainability, provides an indispensable reference for any student of the subject.
Dunphy, D.C., Griffiths, A.B. & Benn, S.H. 2007, Organizational Change for Corporate Sustainability, 2, Routledge, London, UK.
second edition involving major new writing and including new case material
Dunphy, D.C., Griffiths, A.B. & Benn, S.H. 2003, Organizational Change for Corporate Sustainability, 1, Routledge, London.
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Conference Papers

Young, L.C., Benn, S.H., Donald, M., Freeman, L.M. & Marroun, S. 2010, 'In times of need are there more reasons to be green?', Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand, November 2010 in Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference 2010, ed Ballantine, P; Finsterwalder, J., University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, pp. 1-8.
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There is concern that consumers may have turned their backs on Ethical and Socially Responsible (E&SR) products in response to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This paper reviews secondary data on consumers+ changes in E&SR purchasing as a result of the GFC, comparing it to the discourse of ten focus groups conducted immediately before and during the downturn. Our findings show that there has been little behaviour change in response to the downturn; E&SR products are perceived as more costly, consumer purchase decisions are primarily driven by cost rather than E&SR concerns, and consumers continue to purchase E&SR products that provide financial value.
Chelliah, J. & Benn, S.H. 2009, 'HP Australia: Sustainability in supply chain strategies', International Conference on Business and Information, Kuala Lumpur, July 2009 in Proceedings of the International Conference on Business and Information, ed Fang, W, Academy of Taiwan Information Systems Research, Taiwan, pp. 1-9.
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This case study explores the supply chain management strategies of Hewlett Packard Australia.(HP). At the heart of HP's supply chain strategy is sustainability. HP sees itself as a socially responsible organisation and therefore pursuing sustainable supply chain practices are seen as an integral part of achieving the social responsibility. HP proactively seeks to use its sustainable supply chain practices as a competitive tool so as to improve its image among stakeholders as a good global citizen. HP runs an ambitious program of asset recovering centred on recycling as part of its supply chain and encourages both suppliers and customers to become part of its sustainability program.
Lawrence, P.W., Davis, D. & Benn, S.H. 2009, 'Are SME printers accidental environmentalists?', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Melbourne, Australia, December 2009 in 23rd ANZAM Conference 2009 'Sustainability Management and Marketing', ed Beaumont, N, Monash University Business and Economics, Department of Management, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-17.
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This paper presents results of a case study that explores the response of Australian printing firms to social concerns about the impact of industrial activity on the natural environment. The study draws upon both qualitative and quantitative approaches to characterize the response and identify drivers of change. The paper positions the research outcomes within the framework of ecological modernization theory, providing new insights into this theory concerning its applicability to SMEs in a specific industry sector.
Young, L.C., Donald, M., Freeman, L.M. & Benn, S.H. 2008, 'The nature and role of social relationships in social responsibility', Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference, Sydney, December 2008 in Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference 2008: Marketing: Shifting the Focus from Mainstream to Offbeat, ed Denize, S; Spanjaard, D; Sharma, N, ANZMAC, Sydney, pp. 1-7.
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The importance of socially responsible purchasing continues to grow. However there is limited work that considers high involvement purchasing and the importance of social relationships in building attitudes and guiding behavior in this context. This paper presents findings that consider these issues. Social relationships are found to be an important factor in responsible purchasing however these effects often are not consciously recognized by consumers. The paper concludes by considering the need for research methods to uncover the importance of social relations.
Benn, S.H. & Martin, A. 2008, 'Governance, technoscience and sub-politics: an exploratory study of ecological modernization in China', Academy of Management Conference, Anaheim, August 2008.
Perey, R., Dunphy, D.C., Edwards, M. & Benn, S.H. 2007, 'Landcare and the livelihood of knowledge', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Sydney, Australia, December 2007 in Proceedings of the 21st ANZAM 2007 Conference: Managing Our Intellectual and Social Capital, ed Chapman, R., ANZAM, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-17.
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This paper explores how communities generate effective ecological solutions using both implicit narrative construction and explicit processes of knowledge creation and knowledge application. We argue that the act of developing a narrative frames our understanding of the environment and governs our relationship with our environment. We identify micro-narratives extracted from the interviews with members of Australian Landcare organizations and link these micro-narratives to knowledge creation and dissemination processes. We conclude that social change toward sustainability comes about through the rewriting of the environmental story within which we situate ourselves.
Angus-Leppan, T. & Benn, S.H. 2007, 'Building a Framework for Implementing Total Responsibility Management', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Sydney, Australia, December 2007 in Proceedings of the 21st ANZAM 2007 Conference: Managing Our Intellectual and Social Capital, ed Chapman, R., ANZAM, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-17.
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While numerous writers have argued in general terms about the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability management (e.g. Dunphy, Griffiths and Benn 2003, 2007) there has been little empirical exploration of these highly generalised prescriptions. We explore a framework for the management and implementation of CSR and sustainability developed by leading scholars Waddock and Bodwell (2007). Waddock and Bodwell s (2007) Total Responsibility Management (TRM) model implies that TRM begins with inspiration, gains strength with integration and stays relevant with constant innovation. Using data from two corporations with strong performances according to CSR and sustainability assessment mechanisms such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, we aim to identify examples of the management practices and processes associated with inspiration, integration and innovation. We conclude that there is clear evidence that inspiration and integration systems of TRM are associated with the successful implementation of CSR and sustainability. Innovation may be another factor in the implementation of CSR but this may be more important in some industry sectors than others.
Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C., Low, S. & Perey, R. 2006, 'Integrating sustainability into MBA programs: a multiple stakeholder approach', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Yeppoon, Australia, December 2006 in Management: Pragmatism, Philosophy, Priorities - Proceedings of the 20th ANZAM Conference, ed Kennedy, J; Di Milia, L, ANZAM, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-8.
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Grob, S.M. & Benn, S.H. 2006, 'Promulgating sustainability through sustainable purchasing: the role of alliances and networks', Asia-Pacific Researchers in Organisation Studies 11th International Colloquium, Melbourne, Australia, December 2005 in APROS 11: Asia-Pacific Researchers in Organisation Studies 11th International Colloquium Proceedings, ed Muetzelfeldt M, Asia-Pacific Researchers in Organisation Studies, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 341-351.
This paper is an exploration of the collaborations and networks that facilitate sustainable procurement in Australia. At present organizations across all sectors are entering into collaborative arrangements which have the potential to reduce resource consumption and deliver social benefits. Many of these relationships focus on reducing the environmental impact of product at end-of-life and may involve redistribution of products in order to rebirth products. This paper explores the reconceptualising of redundant products as sustainable procurement. In effect, these alliances assist in the implementation of a form of extended producer responsibility (EPR). This is of particular importance in Australia as, unlike Europe and Japan, there is no overarching legislation to ensure EPR. Alliances can address this gap in sustainable manufacturing. The paper explores the motives behind the formation of these alliances and the conditions that facilitate their successful outcomes in terms of the triple bottom line.
Edwards, M. & Benn, S.H. 2006, 'Emergence, complexity and sustainability: a study of the `sub-political arena'', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Yeppoon, Australia, December 2006 in Management: Pragmatism, Philosophy, Priorities - Proceedings of the 20th ANZAM Conference, ed Kennedy, J; Di Milia, L, ANZAM, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-17.
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Rylatt, A.D., Benn, S.H. & Crawford, J.D. 2006, 'Developing commitment among diverse stakeholders: the business challenge of addressing human and ecological sustainability', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Yeppoon, Australia, December 2006 in Management: Pragmatism, Philosophy, Priorities - Proceedings of the 20th ANZAM Conference, ed Kennedy, J; Di Milia, L, ANZAM, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-21.
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Benn, S.H. & Berry, T. 2005, 'Governance requiremments of inter-organisational sustainability domains: new models and democrastising deliberation', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Canberra, Australia, December 2005 in Engaging the Multiple Contexts of Management: Convergence and Divergence of Management Theory and Practice - Proceedings of the 19th ANZAM Conference, ed Davies, D; Fisher, G; Hughes, R, ANZAM, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-18.
Benn, S.H. & Jones, R.I. 2005, 'Symbolic capital and stakeholder disputes: The nature and role of trust in a 'risk society'', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Canberra, Australia, December 2005 in Engaging the Multiple Contexts of Management: Convergence and Divergence of Management Theory and Practice - Proceedings of the 19th ANZAM Conference, ed Davies, D; Fisher, G; Hughes, R, ANZAM, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-18.
Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C., Griffiths, A.B. & Ross-Smith, A.E. 2004, 'Building the sustainable organisation: synergies, tensions and implications for change and leadership', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand, December 2004 in 18th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management: "People First - Serving our Stakeholders", ed Elkin, G, ANZAM, Sydney, pp. 1-11.
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Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C. & Martin, A.J. 2004, 'Networks for knowledge creation: interorganizational collaborations for sustainability', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand, December 2004 in 18th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management: "People First - Serving our Stakeholders", ed Elkin, G, ANZAM, Sydney, pp. 1-25.
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Benn, S.H. & Dunphy, D.C. 2004, 'Human and ecological factors: a systematic approach to corporate sustainability.', Sustainability and Social Science: Round Table Proceedings, Sydney, Australia, December 2003 in Sustainability and Social Science: Round Table Proceedings, ed Cheney, H; Katz, E; Solomon, F, ISF and CSIRO Minerals, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 95-123.
Angus-Leppan, T., Benn, S.H., Daniel, K. & Young, L.C. 2004, 'CSR: The Australian consumer's perspective', Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference, Wellington, New Zealand, November 2004 in Conference Proceedings of the 2004 Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference: "Marketing Accountabilities and Responsibilities", ed Wiley, J; Thirkell, P, ANZMAC, Wellington, pp. 1-8.
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Benn, S.H., Angus-Leppan, T., Daniel, K. & Young, L.C. 2004, 'Individualised reflexivity and corporate social responsibility: perspectives on the consumer', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand, December 2004 in 18th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management: "People First - Serving our Stakeholders", ed Elkin, G, ANZAM, Sydney, pp. 1-15.
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Benn, S.H., Bubna-Litic, D.C. & Eckstein, D. 2001, 'Is the MBA Sustainable? Degrees of Change', Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference, Auckland, December 2001 in Proceedings of ANZAM 2001: Closing the Divide, ed N/A, Massey University, Auckland, pp. 0-0.
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Journal Articles

Grob, S. & Benn, S.H. 2014, 'Conceptualising the adoption of sustainable procurement', Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 11-21.
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Benn, S.H., Giurco, D., Brown, P.J. & Agarwal, R. 2014, 'Towards Responsible Steel: Preliminary Insights', Resources, vol. 3, pp. 275-290.
Grob, S.M. & Benn, S.H. 2014, 'Conceptualising the adoption of sustainable procurement: an institutional theory perspective', Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 11-21.
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Sustainable procurement and supply chain management studies are growing; however several scholars have criticised the lack of theoretical development accompanying this literature. Sustainable procurement and supply chain management activities form part of an organisation+s path to adopt sustainability. Some scholars have suggested examining the application of management theories to describe the introduction of corporate sustainability to address this gap. Institutional theory is frequently used to describe how new practices are adopted in organisations and has also been applied to several corporate social responsibility studies. This conceptual paper examines the applicability of institutional theory to describe the adoption of sustainable procurement and concludes by presenting three theoretical propositions to explain sustainable procurement adoption.
Metcalf, L. & Benn, S.H. 2013, 'Leadership for Sustainability: An Evolution of Leadership Ability.', Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 112, no. 3, pp. 369-384.
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This article examines the existing confusion over the multiple leadership styles related to successful implementation of corporate social responsibility/sustainability in organisations. The researchers find that the problem is the complex nature of sustainability itself. We posit that organisations are complex adaptive systems operating within wider complex adaptive systems, making the problem of interpreting just in what way an organisation is to be sustainable, an extraordinary demand on leaders. Hence, leadership for sustainability requires leaders of extraordinary abilities. These are leaders who can read and predict through complexity, think through complex problems, engage groups in dynamic adaptive organisational change and have the emotional intelligence to adaptively engage with their own emotions associated with complex problem solving. Leaders and leadership is a key interpreter of how sustainability of the organisation `links+ to the wider systems in which the organisation sits, and executing that link well requires unusual leaders and leadership systems
Benn, S.H., Edwards, M. & Angus-Leppan, T. 2013, 'Organizational Learning And The Sustainability Community Of Practice: The Role Of Boundary Objects', Organization & Environment, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 184-202.
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This article aims to explore factors that influence organizational learning around sustainability. For our theoretical framework, we take a sensemaking approach to the multilevel 4I model of organizational learning. Through our pilot study of the case of the higher education sector in Australia, we explore the particular challenges that sustainability poses in terms of integrating new ideas at the group and organizational levels. Our findings suggest that the use of knowledge sharing and generation tools in the form of selected boundary objects can promote the development of communities of practice and hence those integration and institutionalization processes described by the 4I framework when it is applied to sustainability. In specifically allowing for knowledge development and transfer across knowledge and disciplinary boundaries, our revised version of the 4I model has wide relevance to learning around sustainability in any organizational context
Metcalf, L. & Benn, S.H. 2012, 'The Corporation is Ailing Social Technology: Creating a 'Fit for Purpose' Design for Sustainability', Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 111, no. 2, pp. 195-210.
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Designed to facilitate economic development, the corporate form now threatens human survival. This article presents an argument that organisations are yet to be `fit for purpose+ and that the corporate form needs to be re-designed to reach sustainability. It suggests that organisations need to recognise their agent status amongst a much wider and highly complex array of interconnected, dynamic economic, environmental and social systems. Human Factors theory is drawn on to propose that business systems could be made sustainable through re-design. They could fit their environment more appropriately by improving: Efficiency, Adaptability and Social Cohesion. Leaders of organisations would also need to take a holistic approach to alter the organisation proactively to adapt to the systems within which it is embedded
Br+nnmark, M. & Benn, S.H. 2012, 'A Proposed Model for Evaluating the Sustainability of Continuous Change Programmes', Journal of Change Management, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 231-245.
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Many studies report that it is difficult to sustain change. This article focuses on how an organization can initiate and sustain a continuous change process. A theoretical model is proposed as a fusion of two previous models for evaluating the sustainability of a change programme; the first is based on analysing stakeholder interest balance as a prerequisite for organizational sustainability, the second on analysing the design of the implementation, indicating whether long-term effects will be achieved. It is argued that the combination of these factors provides a more comprehensive perspective, since it allows us to evaluate both the `form+ and the `direction+ of the programme. To assess stakeholder interest balance, the goal for the change programme is analysed, utilizing the broad stakeholder interest balance perspective. To assess the design of the implementation, four preconditions for long-term effects should be analysed: management's ownership of the change initiative, professional steering, competent leadership and participation. Reference is given to the management concept Lean Production, which is claimed to engage the organization in continuous change. Application of the model highlights the mismatch between narrowly focused change programmes such as Lean Production and sustainable change.
Benn, S.H. 2011, 'The technological community as a framework for educating for sustainability in business schools', Journal of Management & Organization, vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 656-669.
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This paper adapts and extends the technological community perspective (e.g., Van de Ven, 1993), to analyze the findings of a research project funded by the Australian Government, conducted by the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability (ARIES), and supported by Macquarie University. Study participants included project teams from five Australian business schools who collaborated with selected business or industry partners for the purpose of: 1) integrating sustainability into business school curricula and pedagogy; 2) implementing or enhancing sustainability by industry collaborators, in the form of corporate policies and practices; and 3) fostering new and stronger partnerships-including knowledge sharing--between and among corporations and business schools. The technological community perspective, which is particularly well-suited to examining this innovative education for sustainability project, is a theoretical framework that examines evolution of innovation at the community level; this includes multiple internal and external stakeholders, and is beyond the more traditional uni-dimensional focus on organization or industry levels. This approach can provide lessons with respect to complex and dynamic interactions between and among multiple stakeholders responsible for successful development and dissemination of sustainability in business schools, corporations, and beyond. Hence, this paper addresses issues raised in the call for papers for the special issue of Journal of Management and Organizations, "Educating for Sustainability and CSR: What is the role of business schools?" The paper addresses the questions: 1) What are the barriers for business schools with respect to integrating sustainability in the curricula; 2) What role do partnerships play?; and 3) What role is there for communities of practice?
Benn, S.H. & Kramar, R.J. 2011, 'Introduction and Interviews', Journal of Management & Organization, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 574-582.
Benn, S.H., Todd, L. & Pendleton, J. 2010, 'Public Relations Leadership In Corporate Social Responsibility', Journal Of Business Ethics, vol. 96, no. 3, pp. 403-423.
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Many of the negative connotations of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are linked to its perceived role as a public relations exercise. Following on calls for more positive engagement by public relations professionals in organisational strategic plan
Benn, S.H. & Martin, A.M. 2010, 'Learning and Change for Sustainability Reconsidered: A Role for Boundary Objects', Academy of Management: Learning and Education, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 397-412.
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We explore the organizational learning and change mechanisms that can assist holistic understandings of sustainability knowledge and practice to be shared across the university and other sectors of society. Our qualitative study describes the experience of a Chinese university in employing structural and visionary boundary objects that produced profound sustainability-related innovations. We argue that experience provides a pointed lesson in how universities and their business schools may engage with wider society in order to further share understandings of sustainability.
Angus-Leppan, T., Benn, S.H. & Young, L.C. 2010, 'A sensemaking approach to trade-offs and synergies between human and ecological elements of corporate sustainability', Business Strategy and the Environment, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 230-244.
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This paper considers the complex relationships between the human and ecological elements of sustainability that exist in the minds of stakeholders and argues that a sensemaking approach allows these to be better understood and compared. This is supported by the results of a study, set in a financial institution, exploring the relationships between these non-financial elements of corporate sustainability. The viewpoints of middle management, branch and contact centre employees, executives, a community consultative council, suppliers and a community partner of a large Australian bank obtained in in-depth interviews are analysed and compared utilizing an innovative methodology of semantic analysis. We find that these stakeholders' perceptions of the human+ecological relationship differ by group, containing different mixes of trade-offs and synergies between the non-financial elements of corporate sustainability
Angus-Leppan, T., Metcalf, L.A. & Benn, S.H. 2010, 'Leadership styles and CSR practice: An examination of sensemaking, institutional drivers and CSR leadership', Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 93, no. 2, pp. 189-213.
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This paper examines the antecedents of felt trust, an under-explored area in the trust literature. We hypothesized that subordinates+ felt trust would relate positively with their leaders+ moral leadership behaviors and negatively with autocratic leadership behaviors and demographic differences between leaders and themselves. We also hypothesized the above relationships to be mediated by the leader-member value congruence. Results supported our hypotheses that value congruence mediated between autocratic leadership behaviors and demographic differences and subordinates+ felt trust, but not moral leadership behaviors, which had direct effects on subordinates+ perception of feeling trusted. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C. & Martin, A. 2009, 'Governance of environmental risk: New approaches to managing stakeholder involvement', Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 90, no. 4, pp. 1567-1575.
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Disputes concerning industrial legacies such as the disposal of toxic wastes illustrate changing pressures on corporations and governments. Business and governments are now confronted with managing the expectations of a society increasingly aware of the social and environmental impacts and risks associated with economic development and demanding more equitable distribution and democratic management of such risks. The closed managerialist decision-making of the powerful bureaucracies and corporations of the industrial era is informed by traditional management theory which cannot provide a framework for the adequate governance of these risks. Recent socio-political theories have conceptualised some key themes that must be addressed in a more fitting approach to governance. We identify more recent management and governance theory which addresses these themes and develop a process-based approach to governance of environmental disputes that allows for the evolving nature of stakeholder relations in a highly complex multiple stakeholder arena.
Benn, S.H. & Jones, R.I. 2009, 'The role of symbolic capital in stakeholder disputes: Decision-making concerning intractable wastes', Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 90, no. 4, pp. 1593-1604.
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This paper examines almost 30 years of disputation concerning the disposal of the world's largest stockpile of the toxic organochlorine, hexachlorbenzene. It describes the study of a chemicals company in its attempt to manage the disposal of the toxic waste in a collaborative fashion with government, environmentalists and the local community. The study describes the new processes and structures specifically designed to address the decision-making and the issues of stakeholder perception and identity construction which have influenced the outcomes. Decision-making in such disputes is often theorized from the perspective of the emergence of highly individualized and reflexive risk communities and changing modes and expectations of corporate responsibility as a result of detraditionalization. We argue that the stakeholder interaction in this study reflects competing discourses in which corporate actors prioritize the building and maintaining of identity and symbolic capital rather than an active collaboration to solve the ongoing issue of the waste. As well, issues of access to expert knowledge highlight the relationship between conditions Of uncertainty, technoscientific expertise and identity. The events of the Study highlight the challenges faced by contemporary technoscientific corporations such as chemicals companies as they must deliver on requirements of transparency and openness. while maintaining technoscientific capacity and strong internal identity. We conclude that the study demonstrates the co-existence of social processes of individualization and detraditionalization with quasitraditions which maintain authority, thus challenging the radical distinctions made in the literature between modernity and late or reflexive modernity.
Benn, S.H., Brown, P.R. & North-Samardzic, A. 2009, 'A commentary on decision-making and organisational legitimacy in the Risk Society', Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 90, no. 4, pp. 1655-1662.
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Key concepts of Risk Society as elaborated by Ulrich Beck and others (Beck, U., 1992 (trans. Mark Ritter). The Risk Society. Sage Publications, London. Beck, U., 1995, Ecological Politics in the Age of Risk. Polity Press, Cambridge. Beck, U., 1999, World Risk Society. Polity Press, Cambridge. Giddens, A., 1994, Beyond Left and Right. Polity Press, Oxford. Beck, U., Giddens, A. and Lash, S., 1994, Reflexive Modernisation: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order. Stanford University Press, Stanford. Beck, U., Bonss, W. and Lau, C., 2003, Theory, Culture & Society 2003, Sage, London, 20(2), pp. 1-33.) are illuminated though a case study of managed environmental risk, namely the hexachlorobenzene (HCB) controversy at Botany, a southeast suburb of Sydney. We observe the way Multiple stakeholder decision-making plays out a number of Risk Society themes, including the emergence of 'unbounded risk'and of highly 'individualised' and 'reflexive' risk communities. Across several decades, the events of the HCB story support Risk Society predictions of legitimacy problems faced by corporations as they harness technoscientific support for innovation in their products and industrial processes without due recognition of social and environmental risk. Tensions involving identity, trust and access to expert knowledge advance our understanding of democratic 'sub-political' decision-making and ways of distributing environmental risk.
Benn, S.H. & Baker, E. 2009, 'Advancing sustainability through change and innovation: A co-evolutionary perspective', Journal of Change Management, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 383-397.
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This article addresses the problem of how change and innovation can create a fuller voice for ecological interests in organizations and public policy, raising issues about change mechanisms at the institutional versus organizational level. First, it suggests that the newer, systems-based and inclusive approaches to organizational development practice and theory may overcome shortcomings of earlier approaches to planned change. Second, it argues that co-evolutionary approaches that use complex adaptive systems thinking will more effectively structure such third-generation interventions by focusing on issues at the institutional level. Third, the article examines a dialectical model of institutional change which incorporates activist input and channels conflict into innovative outcomes. Finally, it presents a case example of how a dialectical model combined with a co-evolutionary perspective could foster the institutional change required to facilitate the integration of ecological priorities into the human systems of organisations.
Chelliah, J., Benn, S.H. & Low, S. 2008, 'HP Australia: Strategies in response to global sustainability', The Management Case Study Journal, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 38-47.
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This paper analyses the strategic response by HP Australia to these global challenges for business and for wider society.
Benn, S.H. 2007, 'New Processes of governance: cases for deliberative decision-making?', Managerial Law, vol. 49, no. 5/6, pp. 196-205.
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Purpose + The purpose of this paper is to explore the new forms of governance that are emerging to facilitate corporate sustainability. Design/methodology/approach + The research methodology draws on multiple case study research, examining the research question through the lens of two case examples: a government/industry partner program, itself comprising multiple cases, and an industry consultative committee. Findings + While these cases involve different motivations for collaborative decision-making, they each involve inter-organisational decision-making. Such decision-making requires the establishment of new processes of governance. Research limitations/implications + More case examples need to be explored and subjected to more detailed discourse analysis. Practical implications + Suggestions for new decision-making models that could be usefully taken up by governments and corporations to address stakeholder disputes. Originality/value + The paper makes suggestions for appropriate forms of governance by process if sustainability outcomes are to be achieved that are acceptable to a range of corporate stakeholders
Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C. & Griffiths, A.B. 2006, 'Enabling change for corporate sustainability: an integrated perspective', Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 156-165.
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Benn, S.H. 2004, 'Managing toxic chemicals in Australia: a regional analysis of the risk society', Journal of Risk Research, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 399-412.
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Benn, S.H. & Dunphy, D.C. 2004, 'Can democracy handle corporate sustainability? constructing a path forward', Innovation: Management, Policy and Practice, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 141-155.
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Benn, S.H. & Dunphy, D.C. 2004, 'A case study in strategic sustainability: Fuji Xerox Eco Manufacturing Centre', Innovation: Management, Policy and Practice: an International Journal for Innovation Research, Commercialization, Policy Analysis and Best Practice, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 258-268.
Bubna-Litic, D.C. & Benn, S.H. 2003, 'The MBA at the crossroads: design issues for the future', Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 25-36.
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Other research activity

Dunphy, D.C. & Benn, S.H. 2004, 'Collaborating for environmental sustainability: managing tensions among multiple stakeholders', ARC Discovery Grant.
Benn, S.H., Daniel, K. & Young, L.C. 2003, 'Corporate social responsibility (CSR) - the Australian consumer perspective', Faculty of Business Research Grant.
Benn, S.H., Daniel, K. & Young, L.C. 2003, 'Corporate social responsibility - a consumer perspective', Smith Family (as partner for ARC Linkage Grant).
Benn, S.H., Dunphy, D.C. & Onyx, J.A. 2003, 'Contested Terrain: governance, planning and participation in multi-stakeholder networks for sustainability', Faculty of Business Research Grant.
Benn, S.H. & Dunphy, D.C. 2002, 'Corporate sustainability: a case study, Fuji Xerox Eco Manufacturing Centre'.