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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 2, 2016
Canadian Excellence


Barry A. Colbert

Conceptions of the Business-Society-Nature Interface: Implications for Management Scholarship, Business & Society, 49(3):402-438.

Joel Marcus, Elizabeth C. Kurucz & Barry A. Colbert

published: 2010 | Research publication | Journal article

Marcus, Joel, Elizabeth C. Kurucz and Barry A. Colbert, 2010. Conceptions of the Business-Society-Nature Interface: Implications for Management Scholarship. Business & Society, 49(3):402-438.

This article explores the implicit and explicit conceptions of the relationship between business, society, and nature that are evident in the management literature. We derive three conceptions, termed the disparate, intertwined, and embedded views, and consider how they relate to the economic, social, and environmental challenges of our time. We argue that an embedded view is best able to help us address these challenges, as it infers a holarchical (or holistically hierarchical) perspective of the business-society-nature interface: the notion that business, societal, and biospheric systems are not only interrelated, but that they are most realistically (and therefore most usefully) viewed as nested systems. The embedded view highlights systemic limits and the dependency of society and economy on nature, and thus provides a logical value ordering to these domains. We conclude by discussing the research implications of an embedded view.

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revised Feb 16/10

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