Aktuelle Themen der Organisation - Managing and Organizing for Sustainability

TU Dresden | Sommersemester

Aktuelle Themen der Organisation

Managing and Organizing for Sustainability

Aktuelle Themen der Organisation – Summer term 2023

"Managing and Organizing for Sustainability"

Prof. Dr. Blagoy Blagoev / Alexandra Kiefer, M.Sc.

blagoy.blagoev@tu-dresden.de / Alexandra.kiefer@tu-dresden.de

Office hours: Prof. Blagoev Wednesdays 11:00-12:30 (please register via tool on chair website)

Alexandra Kiefer Mondays 11.30 – 13:00 (please register via tool on chair website)


This advanced-level seminar introduces students to managerial and organizational perspectives on sustainability. Seen as the grandest societal challenge of our age, climate change is a key strategic concern for organizations. Established organizations, however, often translate climate change into “business as usual” and approach it with traditional practices and metrics. As a result, many firms struggle to find viable ways of integrating sustainability and market strategies, as well as handle the ensuing goal conflicts and tensions. At the same time, we observe new hybrid forms of organizing that strive to bridge the logics of markets and sustainability from the get-go. On a broader level, sustainability poses the question of how to organize sustainable transformation on a societal level. This seminar will familiarize students with cutting-edge research on organizations and sustainability. Thereby it will critically examine dominant management models and organizational practices that have emerged as barriers to sustainability, including economic short-termism, strategic myopia, and corporate irresponsibility. On a more positive note, the seminar will also examine how (new forms of) organizing can have a positive impact on sustainability. Overall, the seminar seeks to convey to students how to think about organizations as embedded in and interconnected with larger social and ecological systems. This seminar is built upon the premise that management students should learn to combine state-of-the-art scientific knowledge with practical applications and reflections. Instead of regarding the student as a passive memorizer of predefined knowledge, participants will reflect upon theories and become active inquirers themselves.


After completing this course, students shall be able to:

  • Understand the impact of traditional organizational practices and strategies on sustainability outcomes
  • Explain why organizations engage in environmentally irresponsible behavior
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of new organizational forms that have emerged as a response to sustainability challenges
  • Critically evaluate extant research on organizations and sustainability and recognize opportunities for future research.

Structure and approach

This seminar is based on the didactical approach of cooperative learning. It aims at the joint development of knowledge in class through critical discussion and dialogue. You will prepare the material prior to class, and within class, we will engage in debate and discussion. The direction of conversation won’t be bilateral – from teacher to student – but multilateral with each other, as we all bring a unique and valued perspective. I will encourage active debate and thoughtful reflection. You need to feel comfortable drawing not only on the readings, but your own experiences. You are expected to come to class prepared to ensure not only that you learn, but you contribute to the learnings of others.


This course is assessed through a combination of:

  • A seminar paper (60% of the overall grade)
  • A presentation of your seminar paper (40% of the overall grade)

For the seminar paper (3,000 words), you will have to identify a contemporary research problem in the field of business sustainability and write up a paper that provides a literature review on that problem. Your seminar paper should clearly develop what the research problem is, and why it is relevant, and systematically survey the literature on that issue. Excellent papers will conclude with a discussion that derives implications for future research, e.g., in terms of open research questions that could be addressed through empirical research in a master’s thesis. We will assign themes in class to direct your search for a research question.

For the presentation you should give a good overview of your research work and your seminar paper. It should cover your research question and motivation, an overview of existing literature, a presentation of your results, a discussion and possible future research directions. You should prepare questions for discussing your topic in class after your presentation. Be prepared to debate your conclusions with others.

Important Deadlines

May 21th, 12 pm: please send in a 200-word abstract and an outline of your paper idea to blagoy.blagoev@tu-dresden.de

June 14th, 12 pm: please turn in your final papers electronically to blagoy.blagoev@tu-dresden.de

June 20th, 12 pm: please send your presentation slides to blagoy.blagoev@tu-dresden.de


Kick-Off: Di, 04.04., 14:50 - 18:10, SCH B037

Midterm Feedback: Di 23.05.,13:30 - 16:00 Uhr, SCH B037

Presentation Day 1: Mi, 21.06., 9:20 - 14:00 Uhr, SCH B037

Presentation Day 2: Do, 22.06.,  09:20 - 18:10 Uhr, SCH B037

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