Journal of Business Ethics 168 (3):469-490 (2019)

Social and environmental shocks associated with freshwater management are inherently tied with the lives and well-being of all global citizens. Thus, exploring key actors’ roles is a critical element of this grand challenge. Utilizing an inductive multiple case study, we explore sustainability leadership and subsequent organizational perspective-taking behaviours initiated by actors within freshwater management in response to the grand challenge. A vibrant inductive model elicited three main themes: identifying conditions for organizational perspective-taking, modifying organizational frames of reference and emergence of multi-level influence. The discussion extracts critical insights for sustainability leadership and highlights complexities involved in facilitating effective decision-making among diverse actors. Fundamentally, this article contributes a distinct multi-level systems framework for sustainability leadership drawing from social–ecological systems theory and organizational resilience. We conclude by offering future research opportunities within sustainability leadership designed to bridge the gap between grand challenges and our abilities to solve them.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-019-04219-3
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