Log in / Register
Medien und Kommunikationswissenschaft
Home arrow Communication arrow Strategic Communication for Sustainable Organizations
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

2.5 Concluding Thoughts

Throughout this book, most of the discussion surrounding communication and sustainability focuses on public, interpersonal and group communication. In this chapter, the discussion focuses on paradigms and Discourses. It is through discourse that ideas are developed, spread, and changed. “How we 'talk' about and represent the natural environment have serious ramifications for how we will conceptualize and enact our future relationship with it” (Prasad and Elmes 2005, p. 853). Each Discourse focuses us on different aspects related to how humanity will view and respond to global warming challenges. “Language matters... the way we construct, interpret, discuss, and analyze environmental problems has all kinds of consequences” (Dryzek 2005, p. 10). Climate change sounds like part of the natural cycle, while global warming has connotations that it is the outcome of human action. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (2014), 97 % of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends very likely are due to human activities, and worldwide the leading scientific organizations have issued public statements to that effect. Yet people in the USA feel more comfortable discussing climate change than global warming. Why? In 2002 Frank Luntz, a Republican political strategist, recommended Republican politicians promote the term climate change. Based on his focus group data, the general public finds it less frightening than the term global warming (see Luntz Memorandum 2002). Subsequently, Republican congressional and executive leaders increasingly used the term climate change, and the media and general public followed suit. Today political affiliation is one of the strongest correlates with individual uncertainty about climate change, not scientific knowledge (McCright and Dunlap 2011). So, Discourse, ideology, and language do matter. They shape awareness, understanding, beliefs, attitudes, and action.


Allen, M. W., Walker, K. L., & Brady, R. (2012). Sustainability discourse within a supply chain relationship: Mapping convergence and divergence. Journal of Business Communication, 49, 210–236.

Andersson, L. M., & Bateman, T. S. (2000). Individual environmental initiative: Championing natural environmental issues in U.S. business organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 43, 548–570.

Aras, G., & Crowther, D. (2008). Governance and sustainability: An investigation into the

relationship between corporate governance and corporate sustainability. Management Decision, 46, 433–448.

Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (1998). Key concepts in post-colonial studies. London:


Blackburn, W. R. (2007). The sustainability handbook: The complete management guide to achieving social, economic and environmental responsibility. London: Earthscan.

Bortree, D. S. (2011). The state of environmental communication: A survey of PRSA members.

Public Relations Journal, 4, 1–17.

Brulle, R. J. (2010). From environmental campaigns to advancing the public dialog: Environmental communication for civic engagement. Environmental Communication, 4, 82–98.

Bullis, C., & Ie, F. (1997). Corporate environmentalism. In S. May, G. Cheney, & I. Roper (Eds.),

The debate over corporate social responsibility. New York: Oxford University.

Chess, C. (2001). Organizational theory and the stages of risk communication. Risk Analysis, 21, 179–188.

Christensen, L. T., Morsing, M., & Thyssen, O. (2015). Discursive closure and discursive openings

in sustainability. Management Communication Quarterly, 29, 135–144.

Ciletti, D., Lanasa, J., Ramos, D., Luchs, R., & Lou, J. (2010). Sustainability communication in North American Professional Sports Leagues: Insights from web-site self-presentations. International Journal of Sport Communication, 3, 64–91.

Cohen, E. (1976). Environmental orientations: A multidimensional approach to social ecology.

Current Anthropology, 17, 49–70.

Colby, M. (1991). Environmental management in development: The evolution of paradigms.

Ecological Economics, 3, 193–213.

Cox, R. (2013). Environmental communication and the public sphere (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Sage.

Crognale, G. (2012). Coca-Cola builds sustainability from the watershed up.¼all. Accessed 12 Nov 2013.

De Soto, H. (2000). The mystery of capital: Why capitalism triumphs in the west and fails

everywhere else. New York: Basic Books.

Deetz, S. A. (1992). Systematically distorted communication and discursive closure. In S. A. Deetz (Ed.), Democracy in an age of corporate colonization: Developments in communication and the politics of everyday life (pp. 173–198). Albany: SUNY Press.

Diamond, J. M. (2005). Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. New York: Viking.

Dryzek, J. S. (2005). The politics of the earth: Environmental discourses (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dunlap, R. E., Van Liere, K. D., Mertig, A. G., & Jones, R. E. (2000). Measuring endorsement of the new ecological paradigm: A revised NEP scale. Journal of Social Issues, 56, 425–442. Elkington, J. (1999). Cannibals with forks: The triple bottom line of 21st century business.

Gabriola Island: New Society.

Fairhurst, G. T., & Putnam, L. (2004). Organizations as discursive constructions. Communication Theory, 14, 5–26.

Fairhurst, G. T., & Putnam, L. L. (2014). Organizational discourse analysis. In L. L. Putnam &

D. K. Mumby (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of organizational communication (pp. 271–296). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Ganesh, S. (2009). Critical organizational communication. In S. W. Littlejohn & K. A. Foss (Eds.),

Encyclopedia of communication theory (Vol. 1, pp. 226–231). Los Angeles: Sage.

Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. London: Harper and Row.

Grant, D., Hardy, C., Oswick, C., & Putnam, L. L. (2004). Introduction: Organizational discourse:

Exploring the field. In D. Grant, C. Hardy, C. Oswick, & L. L. Putnam (Eds.), The Sage handbook of organizational discourse (pp. 1–36). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Handy, C. (1999). The hungry spirit: Beyond capitalism: The quest for purpose in the modern

world. New York: Broadway Books.

Hannaes, K., Arthur, D., Balagopal, B., Kong, M. T., Reeves, M., Velken, I., et al. (2011).

Sustainability: The 'embracers' seize advantage. MIT Sloan Management Review and the Boston Consulting Group Research Report. Accessed 20 Dec 2013.

Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons. Science, 162, 1243–1248.

Hawken, P. (1994). The ecology of commerce: A declaration of sustainability. New York: HarperCollins.

Hawken, P., Lovins, A., & Lovins, L. H. (2000). Natural capitalism: Creating the next industrial revolution. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

Henly, A., Hershkowitz, A., & Hoover, D. (2012). Game changer: How the sports industry is saving the environment. NRDC Report R:12-08-A. sports/game-changer.asp. Accessed 20 Dec 2013.

Hopkins, R. (2014). Transition network's annual report 2014. news. Accessed 12 Jan 2015.

Ihlen, O. (2015). “It is five minutes to midnight and all is quiet”: Corporate rhetoric and sustainability. Management Communication Quarterly, 29, 145–152.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2013). Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. Accessed 20 Dec 2013.

Jabbour, C. J. C., & Santos, F. C. A. (2006). The evolution of environmental management within organizations: Toward a common taxonomy. Environment Quality Management, 16, 43–59.

Jacobs, M. (1999). Sustainable development as a contested concept. In A. Dobson (Ed.), Fairness and futurity: Essays on environmental sustainability and social justice (pp. 21–45). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Korten, D. C. (2001). When corporations rule the world. Bloomfield: Kumarian Press.

Kraft, M., & Vig, N. (2000). Environmental policy in Congress: From consensus to gridlock. In

N. J. Vig & M. E. Kraft (Eds.), Environmental policy: New directions for the twenty-first century (5th ed., pp. 121–144). Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Kuhn, T. S. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Lakoff, G. (2010). Why it matters how we frame the environment. Environmental Communica-

tion: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 4, 70–81.

Luntz Memorandum to the Bush White House. (2002). A cleaner safer, healthier America. https:// Accessed 17 May 2014.

McCright, A., & Dunlap, R. (2011). The politicization of climate change and polarization in the

American public's views of global warming, 2001–2010. The Sociological Quarterly, 52, 155–194.

Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. W. (1972). The limits to growth.

New York: Universe Books.

Mitra, R., & Buzzanell, P. M. (2015). Introduction: Organizing/communicating sustainably.

Management Communication Quarterly, 29, 130–134.

Mulla, R. (2013). Ten institutions receive prestigious climate leadership awards. Second nature: Education for sustainability. gious-climate-leadership-awards-0. Accessed 23 Oct 2014.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (2014). Consensus: 97% of climate scientists

agree. Accessed 27 May 2014.

Olausson, U. (2011). “We're the Ones to Blame”: Citizens' representations of climate change and the role of the media. Environmental Communication, 5, 281–299.

Pirages, D. C., & Ehrlich, P. R. (1974). Ark II: Social response to environmental imperatives.

New York: Viking Press.

Polk, E., & Servases, J. (2015). Sustainability and participatory communication: A case study of the Transition Town Amherst, Massachusetts. Management Communication Quarterly, 29, 160–167.

Prasad, P., & Elmes, M. (2005). In the name of the practical: Unearthing hegemony of pragmatics in the discourse of environmental management. Journal of Management Studies, 42, 845–867.

Rosteck, T., & Frentz, T. S. (2009). Myth and multiple readings in environmental rhetoric: The

case of An Inconvenient Truth. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 95, 1–10.

Salzmann, O., Ionescu-Somers, A., & Steger, U. (2005). The business case for corporate sustainability: Literature review and research options. European Management Journal, 23, 27–36. Schlosberg, D., & Rinfret, S. (2008). Ecological modernization, American style. Environmental

Politics, 17, 254–275.

Schmidheiny, S. (1992). Changing course: A global business perspective on development and the environment. Cambridge: MIT.

Seiter, J. S. (2009). Social judgment theory. In S. W. Littlejohn & K. A. Foss (Eds.), Encyclopedia

of communication theory (Vol. 2, pp. 905–908). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Shafer, W. E. (2006). Social paradigms and attitudes toward environmental accountability.

Journal of Business Ethics, 65, 121–147.

Sinha, P., Schew, W. A., Swant, A., Kowaite, K. J., & Strode, S. A. (2010). Greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. institutions of higher education. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, 60, 568–573.

Soros, G. (2000). Open society: Reforming global capitalism. New York: PublicAffairs.

Springett, D. (2003). Business conceptions of sustainable development: A perspective from critical theory. Business Strategy and the Environment, 12, 71–86.

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. (2015). fhwa. Accessed 28 Jan 2015.

United Nations Environmental Programme. (2008). Green jobs: Towards decent work in a sustainable, low-carbon world. Accessed 20 Dec 2013.

van Dijk, T. A. (1998). Ideology: A multidisciplinary approach. London: Sage.

Vig, N. J. (2000). Presidential leadership and the environment. In N. J. Vig & M. E. Kraft (Eds.), Environmental policy: New directions for the twenty-first century (5th ed., pp. 98–120). Washington, DC: CQ Press.

Walker, K., & Wan, F. (2012). The harm of symbolic actions and green-washing: Corporate

actions and communications on environmental performance and their financial implications.

Journal of Business Ethics, 109, 227–242.

Wexler, M. N. (2009). Strategic ambiguity in emergent coalitions: The triple bottom line.

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 14, 62–77.

Woodside, C. (2013). What makes climate communicator George Marshall tick? Accessed 18 Nov 2013.

Zadek, S. (2001). The civil corporation: The new economy of corporate citizenship. London:


Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >
Business & Finance
Computer Science
Language & Literature
Political science