Information systems in environmental sustainability: Of cannibals and forks

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Book Chapter

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Interim status: Citation only.

Hovorka, D.S., Labajo, E. and Auerbach, N.A. (2011 forthcoming). Information systems in environmental sustainability: Of cannibals and forks. In S. Seidel and J. vom Brocke (Eds.), Beyond efficiency – Business process management for the sustainable enterprise. London: Springer.

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© Copyright Springer, 2011


That individuals, communities, and organizations need to change patterns of behavior and interactions to create a sustainable future for the biosphere has become a widely accepted concept in both organizational practice and sustainability research from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Information systems and the organizational, community and individual actions they support have the potential to alter the current trajectory of resource consumption, negative environmental impacts, and ecosystem degradation. Although the Information Systems discipline has begun to address the problem of environmental sustainability, current models adhere to a technologic-managerial mindset which supports the organizational status quo. By critiquing the assumptions of the established Triple Bottom Line framework, this research proposes that Information Systems research can be expanded in three directions: addressing collective rather than individual actions, creating, measuring and monitoring a broad range of environmental impact measures, and designing organizational learning systems that enable adaptive management practices in the face of unpredictable and nonlinear environmental changes. Recognition of these additional research avenues will emphasize the difficulty of the problem domain and support transformational research thinking.

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