Sylvia Grewatsch, Assistant Professor for Strategy, Goodman School of Business, Brock University
My research looks at how social and environmental challenges shape organizations strategic decision-making and actions. The nature of sustainability challenges is unpredictable and not known ex-ante. Thus, strategic responses to them are based on interpretative actions. Managers and organizations need to make sense of the situation before they can act. Therefore, I am interested on cognitive aspect about how organizations define the complexity of the problem and the holism of solutions.
During my PhD time, I emphasized the aspect of decisions making by looking at the business case of corporate sustainability. The overall research question guiding the dissertation revolved around: “What is the relevance of the business case in corporate sustainability and how do we move beyond it?”. More specifically, I focused on the constituent elements of the business case in corporate sustainability and its inherent problems of missing concreteness in theoretical understanding and research design. The dissertation aimed to assess the increasing critique of business case thinking and to propose alternative views toward a more complex and detailed understanding of corporate sustainability.
During my Postdoc time, I put emphasis on the cognitive aspects of concrete organizational actions by following innovations for sustainability in the various Canadian industries. The core research project of my Postdoc looked at the Canadian oil sands industry and the question of how industry actors can collaboratively accelerate the innovation process to address sustainability challenges and to remain competitive. At the center of this study are cognitive aspects around relational and temporal frames.
My Postdoc work is qualitative in nature and draws on organizational theory together with insights from strategic management, science and technology studies. I use textual data, such as interviews or documentary research, and observation material from project meetings. To analyse the qualitative data, I employ methods such as content or frame analyses. My PhD work was quantitative, where I obtained data from a self-conducted survey among Danish manufacturing firms. I used a structural equation modelling technique for the analysis. I am also trained in conducting systematic literature reviews.
For further information on my two recent areas of interest, innovations for sustainability and the business case for sustainability, please click on the boxes below.