Is innovation important in organizational sustainability

Topics: Economics, Sustainability, Technology Pages: 7 (1361 words) Published: August 29, 2014
Innovation: The Key to Achieve Organizational Sustainability Introduction
Currently, the theory of sustainability has gained an international popularity not only in the more macro social and ecological level, but also in the relatively micro organizational level. To be more specific, now it has become the primary goal of an organization to sustain a healthy and long-term development, or sustainable development. The role of innovation in the organizational sustainability, however, is not yet decided partly because that the notion of innovation is so elusive (Elke & Bos-Brouwers 2010). After a wide literature survey, in this essay it attempts to put forth and prove the hypothesis that innovation is the key to realize organization sustainability.

Organizational Sustainability and Innovation?
As pointed out in the research book by Dunphy, Griffiths and Benn (2006), corporation has been the fundamental cell of modern economic life as it brings people such a huge physical wealth that is unthinkable for the generations before. The importance of corporation, however, leads to the question of how to maintain a sustainable development of corporation in order to achieve the sustainability of human society and the plant. This is called corporation sustainability or organizational sustainability. Accordingly, one can see that in the literary sense, organizational sustainability is a sustainable and healthy development and maintenance of the organization to fulfill its goal to provide its members the financial returns and other kinds of outcomes in the long run. However, it is just one part of organizational sustainability. From a more profound perspective, it has the sustainability of human society and the plant as its ultimate goal. Human beings are living in this earth for quite a long time and will continue to live in this plant; therefore, it is important to study the approaches to a sustainable development. Someone also link the organizational sustainability with enterprise social responsibility. The two terms coincide in the point that they are both meant for a long-term development for the organization and human beings as well.

Innovation, nevertheless, is much more elusive to define that organizational sustainability. Based on the broad survey, it is summarized that there are at least the following two indispensible aspects in the notion of innovation. For one thing, innovation is the concept of innovative thinking. It is deeply rooted in the members of an organization and reflected by the organizational culture. In the innovative culture, the opinions from multicultural backgrounds are welcomed and respected. For another thing, innovation also refers to the methods to bring about new and creative organizational changes through innovative methods, such as technological innovation or institutional innovation. By adopting the innovative methods, it is possible to bring a significant change to an organization.

Theoretical Perspective
To realize the primary importance of innovation of innovation in organizational sustainability, one has to find out the inherent link between them. Organizational sustainability is nothing like the previous production mode which puts extreme and even solo emphasis on the short-term and economic gains in an organization. It is aimed at a comprehensive development of economic returns, social welfare, ecological impact, and human development. The essence in this new mode of organization development lies in creative change or a fundamental change to the old-fashioned one. Therefore, the theoretical reasoning will be conducted from two aspects—innovative mindset and innovation method.

Innovative mindset, or innovative thinking, is of a vital importance for the possibility of organizational sustainability. As pointed out by Dunphy, Griffiths and Benn (2006), because of the unsustainability of some traditional organizational values and forms, one cannot achieve the sustainability of...


References: Center for Sustainability Organization. (n.d.). Retrieved Apr. 9th, 2014, http://www.sustainablelifemedia.com/events/sb14/program/workshops
Coca Cola Enterprise. (2013). “Sustainability Innovation Summit explores how organizations can think differently to drive the next era of sustainable business.” updated Oct. 11th, 2013, retrieved Apr. 9th, 2014, http://www.cokecce.com/news-and-events/news/sustainability-innovation-summit-explores-how-organizations-can-think-differently-to-drive-the-next-era-of-sustainable-business-video-and-summary
Dunphy D., Griffiths A. and Benn S. (2006). “Organizational change for corporate sustainability.” Retrieved from Routledge Talor & Francis Group, Apr. 9, 2014, http://www.sustenn.com/files/user_files/25_Frederic_Laloux/dunphyorganizational-change-for-corporate-sustainability.pdf
Elke H. and Bos-Brouwers J. (2010). “Corporate sustainability and innovation in SMEs: evidence of themes and activities in practice.” Business Strategy and the Environment (retrieved from Database Wiley), Vol. 19, No. 7, pp. 417–435
Florea L., Cheung Y., and Herndon N. (2013). “For all good reasons: role of values in organizational sustainability.” Journal of Business Ethics(retrieved from Database Jstor), Vol. 114, No. 3 (May 2013), pp. 393-408
Weiss D. and Legrand C. (2011). Innovative Intelligence: The Art and Practice of Leading Sustainable Innovation in Your Organization. John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd., Ontario.
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