Climate Change and the Business School: Going Beyond Neoliberal 'Solutions' with Hannah Arendt

Charlotte Cator*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Climate change is gaining growing attention in institutional politics and the business world. As businesses start widely embracing the turn to climate change, business schools are increasingly addressing sustainability-related topics in their educations. However, the difficulties meeting defined climate goals indicate that current responses to climate change are insufficient. To shed new light on the role of business and business education in addressing climate challenges, this article turns to Arendt's political theory. Her critique of liberalism and the demise of politics helps elucidate the current domination of economically oriented approaches to climate change, which further aggravate humanity's destructive relationship with nature. Through a reading of Arendt's account of political action, I propose a twopronged role for business schools addressing issues related to climate change. The first involves reflecting on the role of business in the commonly shared world and its embeddedness in a natural environment. Such reflection takes a certain humbleness about the role and position of business as well as an engagement with inter- and cross-disciplinary education aimed to acknowledge and interact with other actors in the common world. The second prong entails a commitment to fostering political moments, an objective enabled by the capacities of critical thinking and political action inherent in potentially all human beings. In this way business schools can encourage reflection on the role of business in the common world and on how neoliberalism intensifies humanity's devastating impact on nature, while also connecting critical thinking to action in the common world.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEphemera: Theory & politics in organization
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)83-113
    Number of pages31
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


    • Business education
    • Climate change
    • Neoliberalism
    • Hannah Arendt

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