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Leadership for Sustainable Futures
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Leadership for Sustainable Futures

Achieving Success in a Competitive World

9781847200570 Edward Elgar Publishing
Gayle C. Avery, Professor of Management, Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Publication Date: 2006 ISBN: 978 1 84720 057 0 Extent: 288 pp
Many managers in the English-speaking world are seeking an alternative to the prevailing business model which promotes a short-term, shareholder-value approach. In this accessible and highly topical book, Gayle Avery argues that this Anglo/US approach to capitalism and business is seriously flawed and does not bring the quality of life to individuals and societies that many people seek. But what is the alternative and do business leaders have a different choice?

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Many managers in the English-speaking world are seeking an alternative to the prevailing business model which promotes a short-term, shareholder-value approach. In this accessible and highly topical book, Gayle Avery argues that this Anglo/US approach to capitalism and business is seriously flawed and does not bring the quality of life to individuals and societies that many people seek. But what is the alternative and do business leaders have a different choice?

This book demonstrates alternative ways of leading sustainable organizations. It identifies 19 criteria for sustainable leadership practices that can be found in globally successful enterprises such as Allianz, BMW, Munich Reinsurance, Nokia, Novartis, and Porsche. Sustainable principles include promoting ethical behavior, long-term thinking and innovation, and valuing employees and other stakeholders such as the community, the environment and future generations. The author presents concrete examples of leadership from 28 interesting case studies to illustrate the many different ways in which sustainable leadership principles can be implemented. The book concludes that shifting to sustainable leadership practices may appear difficult for enterprises based in the USA, UK and Australia, but is essential for the long-term survival of these firms. Indeed, several well-known businesses from these countries have already adopted sustainable leadership principles, including Colgate–Palmolive, Continental Airlines, HSBC, IBM, Marriott, Nordstrom and SAS.

By highlighting a dramatically different approach to leadership which can prove financially, socially and environmentally successful, this book will have a great appeal to scholars and students with an interest in leadership, strategy, international management and organisational studies. It will also be a valuable and practical aid for managers and consultants looking for new directions and ways of running their businesses.
Critical Acclaim
‘Leadership for Sustainable Futures presents arguments against the prevailing Anglo/US philosophy which puts short-term interest over sustainable development, values shareholders over other stakeholders, and seeks profits at the expense of the environment and society. In China, we recognise that sustainable development, in economic, social and environmental terms, is vitally important for the future of the country. Chinese leaders are set to adopt ‘the scientific approach to development’ and commit themselves to build a ‘harmonious society’, which promises a more equal distribution of wealth, as well as greater emphasis on the protection of the environment. The very key is to “put people first” – a viewpoint that is argued so cogently in your book Leadership for Sustainable Futures. I firmly believe that your book will be invaluable for Chinese enterprises seeking to adopt an approach to doing business which leads to sustainable growth.’
– Dr Qin Xiao, Chairman, China Merchants Group (from foreword of the Chinese translation of the book)

‘A fascinating book with a provocative thesis and numerous case studies of companies.’
– Business Ethics

‘This is a scholarly but readable book that challenges much of what we take for granted about management in the world today. . .’
– Harvard Business School Working Knowledge Papers

‘GL recommends this book to business leaders. We really welcomed Gayle
Avery’s discussion about how adopting an overall philosophy directs the
decisions that companies make, that sustainability isn’t a one-off event
but a long term approach. Her well-thought out cases provide a valuable
insight to alternative solutions such companies find when faced with
challenges such as a drop in orders or changing skill demands.’
– The Gallon Environment Letter, Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment

‘For years, many of us have been criticizing the Anglo-American corporate system not only on moral grounds but on practical grounds as well. Gayle Avery moves beyond these criticisms to a detailed examination of precisely why the European systems function better as a business matter as well as a social matter. In so doing, she provides an excellent handbook for business leaders to follow. Leadership for Sustainable Futures should become a classic in its field.’
– Lawrence E. Mitchell, The George Washington University Law School, US

‘At a time when business leaders are coming under severe pressure to adopt the Anglo/US ideal of shareholder value, Leadership for Sustainable Futures convincingly demonstrates the corporate and social superiority of the approach which adds simultaneous value to shareholders and stakeholders. Although its roots lie in Europe, this leadership approach is practiced worldwide by successful companies that outperform the market over time. Gayle Avery’s message is brought to life by practical examples from 28 organizations illustrating different facets of sustainable leadership. This well-researched, coherent book makes timely and essential reading.’
– Martin Hilb, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
Contents
Contents: Preface Part I: Setting the Scene 1. Towards Sustainable Leadership Part II: Rhineland Leadership Practices 2. Rhineland Case Study Enterprises 3. Management and Decision Making 4. Focus on People 5. Systems and Processes Part III: Beyond the Rhineland 6. Scandinavian, South African and Family Businesses 7. Anglo/US Public Companies Part IV: The Future 8. Towards a Sustainable Future References Index
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