Mental models of sustainability

unearthing and analyzing the mental images of corporate sustainability with qualitative empirical research

Stefan Hielscher, Matthias Georg Will

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the potential of a qualitative empirical research method [Ganzheitliche Bewältigung von Komplexität (GABEK®)] for systemic sustainability research. We interpret systemic corporate sustainability as a research programme that views the company and its environment as an ongoing process of social construction. Furthermore, we argue that the mental models of relevant actors are crucial within the process of social construction. We then present GABEK® as a unique method for qualitative empirical content analysis and highlight that GABEK® can contribute substantially to systemic sustainability research because it holds the potential to unearth and analyze the mental models of diverse actors with the scrutiny of empirical research. We illustrate this potential with a case study of a major German company's sustainability management (BASF AG), and we outline avenues for future research for an empirically oriented approach to systemic sustainability research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)708-719
Number of pages12
JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Fingerprint

empirical research
sustainability
social construction
empirical method
environmental management
research method
content analysis
Corporate sustainability
Sustainability
Empirical research
Mental models
present
Social construction

Keywords

  • GABEK®
  • Qualitative research
  • Sustainability
  • Systems

Cite this

@article{ff611f9772c749479e8992ae579efb15,
title = "Mental models of sustainability: unearthing and analyzing the mental images of corporate sustainability with qualitative empirical research",
abstract = "This paper demonstrates the potential of a qualitative empirical research method [Ganzheitliche Bew{\"a}ltigung von Komplexit{\"a}t (GABEK{\circledR})] for systemic sustainability research. We interpret systemic corporate sustainability as a research programme that views the company and its environment as an ongoing process of social construction. Furthermore, we argue that the mental models of relevant actors are crucial within the process of social construction. We then present GABEK{\circledR} as a unique method for qualitative empirical content analysis and highlight that GABEK{\circledR} can contribute substantially to systemic sustainability research because it holds the potential to unearth and analyze the mental models of diverse actors with the scrutiny of empirical research. We illustrate this potential with a case study of a major German company's sustainability management (BASF AG), and we outline avenues for future research for an empirically oriented approach to systemic sustainability research.",
keywords = "GABEK{\circledR}, Qualitative research, Sustainability, Systems",
author = "Stefan Hielscher and Will, {Matthias Georg}",
year = "2014",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1002/sres.2305",
language = "English",
volume = "31",
pages = "708--719",
journal = "Systems Research and Behavioral Science",
issn = "1092-7026",
publisher = "Wiley",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Mental models of sustainability

T2 - unearthing and analyzing the mental images of corporate sustainability with qualitative empirical research

AU - Hielscher, Stefan

AU - Will, Matthias Georg

PY - 2014/11

Y1 - 2014/11

N2 - This paper demonstrates the potential of a qualitative empirical research method [Ganzheitliche Bewältigung von Komplexität (GABEK®)] for systemic sustainability research. We interpret systemic corporate sustainability as a research programme that views the company and its environment as an ongoing process of social construction. Furthermore, we argue that the mental models of relevant actors are crucial within the process of social construction. We then present GABEK® as a unique method for qualitative empirical content analysis and highlight that GABEK® can contribute substantially to systemic sustainability research because it holds the potential to unearth and analyze the mental models of diverse actors with the scrutiny of empirical research. We illustrate this potential with a case study of a major German company's sustainability management (BASF AG), and we outline avenues for future research for an empirically oriented approach to systemic sustainability research.

AB - This paper demonstrates the potential of a qualitative empirical research method [Ganzheitliche Bewältigung von Komplexität (GABEK®)] for systemic sustainability research. We interpret systemic corporate sustainability as a research programme that views the company and its environment as an ongoing process of social construction. Furthermore, we argue that the mental models of relevant actors are crucial within the process of social construction. We then present GABEK® as a unique method for qualitative empirical content analysis and highlight that GABEK® can contribute substantially to systemic sustainability research because it holds the potential to unearth and analyze the mental models of diverse actors with the scrutiny of empirical research. We illustrate this potential with a case study of a major German company's sustainability management (BASF AG), and we outline avenues for future research for an empirically oriented approach to systemic sustainability research.

KW - GABEK®

KW - Qualitative research

KW - Sustainability

KW - Systems

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84912051114&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sres.2305

U2 - 10.1002/sres.2305

DO - 10.1002/sres.2305

M3 - Article

VL - 31

SP - 708

EP - 719

JO - Systems Research and Behavioral Science

JF - Systems Research and Behavioral Science

SN - 1092-7026

IS - 6

ER -