Call for Extended Abstracts


Extended abstracts of between 500 - 1000 words are due by 10 April 2013. Notification regarding acceptance will be made by 30 April 2013. We strongly encourage (and appreciate) submissions in advance of the deadline. Accepted extended abstracts will be made available on the conference website and printed in the conference proceedings. We respectfully advise adherence to the word range and the guidance offered in the passages that follow.


How to submit

To submit, email the extended abstract as a Microsoft Word document to Please name the file the last name of the first author followed by the first few words of the article title (for example: Freeman- Stakeholder Engagement in Scandinavia.doc) and format the body of the article so the first page of the article includes the article title, author names, contact information, and organizational affiliations and in the pages that follow no author identifying characteristics are visible. While additional formatting considerations are not our highest priority, we do appreciate any degree of consistency that can be made with the guidelines offered by the Scandinavian Journal of Management which can be found at


What to submit

Extended abstracts will be considered with regards to their fit and potential contribution to the Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context Conference 2013 and, furthermore, with regards to theirpotential contribution as fully developed articles to a special issue dedicated to “Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context.” This special issue will be with a respected international academic management journal (to be announced in advance of the conference) that will be edited by professors R. Edward Freeman, Kai Hockerts, Mette Morsing, and Robert Strand. The call for the full articles will be early 2014.


Submissions of extended abstracts to the Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context Conference 2013 are encouraged from all stages of the writing process – from an early stage in which a potential article is being considered and the associated ideas are in a more conceptual phase all the way through a more final stage in which an associated full article is nearing readiness for submission for journal consideration. Authors of the extended abstracts that are accepted will offer their presentations during the conference at which time feedback will be offered to the authors in an effort to encourage and strengthen subsequent full article submissions for consideration to the associated special issue. We aim for the collection of articles within this special issue to serve as a foundation from which to consider the potential development a research paradigm dedicated to exploring sustainability in a Scandinavian context – and to consider the potential implications for a broader global context.


We offer the following assortment of issues, perspectives, and questions to serve as a source of inspiration and spur on further considerations by authors for potential extended abstract submissions and ultimately full articles. Given those of us who have composed this list reside primarily within the confines of business schools we acknowledge that this list is undoubtedly biased toward a business-centric view of sustainability and thus does not represent an all-encompassing list.  So, please, consider this as our humble initial attempt to begin a series of conversations. We also invite you to consider what issues, perspectives, and questions we are missing through which we can collectively more fully consider sustainability in a Scandinavian context – and the potential implications for a broader global context. When raising issues, perspectives, and questions that are not articulated in the following assortment we ask that you explicitly articulate how your submission may connect to one or more of the following topics so that we can all more readily realize potential connections across disciplines and themes. This will also help to facilitate the subsequent assembling of a more cohesive special issue. 


While we do not expect authors of the extended abstracts to demonstrate ‘expert’ insight regarding all things related to sustainability in a Scandinavian context we do anticipate thoughtful considerations by authors regarding where their contributions may connect to (and across) any of the following issues, perspectives, and questions:



Scandinavian companies are disproportionately well-represented at the top of the major sustainability performance indices including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and Global 100 (McCallin & Webb, 2004; Midttun et al., 2006; Morsing et al., 2007; Gjølberg, 2009; Strand, 2013). Why is this and what does it tell us?

The most commonly used definition of ‘sustainability’ has Scandinavian origins. This definition of sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” is drawn from the definition of “sustainability development” offered within the 1987 report commonly referred to as “The Brundtland Report” as the authoring commission was chaired by Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland (World Commission on Environment & Development, 1987). What does ‘sustainability’ mean in a Scandinavian context? Is it predominantly associated with environmental sustainability?  Social sustainability? Some combination? And how is sustainability interpreted vis-à-vis concepts like corporate social responsibility (CSR), business ethics, triple bottom line, and stakeholder engagement? Is sustainability more likely considered as an “umbrella construct” or by some strict definition (Hirsch & Levin, 1999: 200; Gond & Crane, 2010: 680; Strand, 2013)? What effects might these varying interpretations of sustainability and the related expressions have (Christensen et al., 2013)? We invite discussion and debate regarding the very meaning of ‘sustainability’ and the associated expressions.

Scandinavian companies are increasingly engaging with sustainability and the associated issues in a strategic manner. While sustainability related initiatives have been traditionally engaged in a more implicit manner across Scandinavia, more recently there are ever increasing explicit and strategic engagement with sustainability (Matten & Moon, 2008; Morsing et al., 2007; Vallentin & Murillo, 2010; Midttun et al., 2012; Strand, 2012; Brown & Knudsen 2012). For example, C-Suite positions with explicit mention of ‘sustainability’ in their position titles have recently become commonplace at a number of the largest Scandinavian corporations and where the individuals who occupy them are charged with implementing corporate sustainability strategies (Strand, 2013). What opportunities might this strategic engagement with sustainability present?´For example, are Scandinavian companies realizing greater sustainability performances as result of such strategic engagement and coordination of efforts? And, importantly, what challenges might this strategic engagement with sustainability present? For example, are ethical and humanistic considerations at risk of (or perhaps already) being pushed off the agenda (Morsing et al., 2007; Vallentin & Murillo, 2010; Strand, 2012)?


Stakeholder theory development has deep Scandinavian roots (Freeman, 1984; Nasi, 1995; Morsing et al., 2007; Freeman et al., 2010) where, for example, the expression ‘stakeholder’ itself and the “stakeholder map” was first made available to scholars throughout the world within the Swedish scholar Eric Rhenman’s seminal offering “Industrial Democracy and Industrial Management” (Rhenman, 1964; 1968; Strand & Freeman, 2012).  What interrelationships might exist between these deep-seated traditions of encouraging stakeholder engagement in a Scandinavian context and sustainability practices (eg. Tryggestad et al., 2013)?


The Economist (2013) recently turned its attention Scandinavia and proclaimed “the world should look at the Nordic countries.” The Economist’s recent interests seems to coincide with longstanding discussions of “Scandinavian stakeholder capitalism” (Bjerke (1999) and discussions about how the “Scandinavian model promotes long-term ties between owners, managers, workers, and society, where the role of the company includes promotion of goals of society at large” (Grennes, 2003: 13). These claims of interconnected interests are further bolstered through the demonstration of a robust macro “triple bottom line” by Scandinavian countries in the form of their strong and balanced country-level macro economic, societal, and economic performances (Strand, 2011).  Does this serve as evidence that the Scandinavian region could be held as a model for the rest of the world? Or is this a misguided view in some respects?  What does this tell us and what doesn’t it tell us?

A claim regarding the existence of a “Scandinavian Cooperative Advantage” has been articulated whereby Scandinavian companies are described as demonstrating a heightened willingness and capacity to cooperatively engage with their stakeholders (Strand & Freeman, 2012; Vallentin & Murillo, 2010; Strand 2009). Is there such a thing as a Scandinavian cooperative advantage? If so, what might this mean with respect to sustainability?  Furthermore, what might a so-called “cooperative advantage” mean in a business world that is overwhelmingly focused on competition and achieving a “competitive advantage” (Porter, 1985) where war-like and zero-sum game metaphors are the norm (Ghoshal, 2005; Ferraro et al., 2005; Pfeffer, 2005; Rocha & Ghoshal, 2006; Audebrand, 2010)? Could such a cooperative-based approach translate to other contexts or are the competitive underpinnings too great?


Case studies:  How is sustainability practiced at Scandinavian organizations? How do Scandinavian organizations cope with institutional and cultural pressures to conform to certain standards for sustainability (eg. Reijonen & Tryggestad, 2012)? How might this compare to organizations in other contexts? We welcome the development of case studies to more deeply explore sustainability in a Scandinavian context. We also welcome comparative case studies considering organizations based in a Scandinavian context vis-à-vis organizations operating in other global contexts.


Scandinavian companies are recognized as trailblazers with respect to their embracement of international initiatives to promote sustainability and social responsibility. This notably includes the United Nations Global Compact (Rasche, 2009; Gilbert, Rasche, & Waddock, 2011). The Nordic Global Compact Network (2013) formed in 2003 represents the first local United Nations Global Compact network in the world. What can we learn from these Scandinavian experiences for embracing cooperative approaches to address sustainability issues that cut across traditional boundaries?


The Scandinavian context is home to high profiled sustainability movements such as the New Nordic Cuisine Movement (Meyer, 2013) that is drawing increasingly levels of attention from throughout the world (eg. The Economist, 2013) and the New Nordic Fashion Concept introduced in 2012 that is currently gaining regional momentum (Nordic Fashion Association, 2012). In parallel, the Nordic Initiative for Clean and Ethical Consumption (NICE, 2013) has introduced the “Framework for Achieving Sustainable Fashion Consumption” that is example of the broader movement associated with sustainable consumption (Reisch, 2001; Reisch & Gwozdz, 2011; Reisch & Scherhorn, 1999) – a movement that is a subject of heightened consideration in a Scandinavian context. What sustainability lessons can be drawn from such movements?


The Arctic is of deep significance regarding considerations for sustainability in a Scandinavian context.  Scandinavian countries - and the Nordic countries more broadly speaking - are members of a unique group of nations whose geographical boundaries fall within the Arctic region. Issues associated with the Arctic represent a significant cause for deliberation regarding sustainability with such issues as impacts to indigenous peoples in the North, rights issues and extractive industries, and biodiveristy issues. Furthermore, many Scandinavian-based companies like the Norwegian extractives giant Statoil have operations in sensitive areas of the Arctic. What sustainability lessons can be learned from the Scandinavian experiences in the Arctic? Can best practices be drawn? In what areas might critical failures are occurring? What sustainability and CSR lessons can be drawn from engaging with extreme conditions of the Arctic? A set of guidelines for sustainability and CSR in the Arctic is currently being developed in an effort to ensure that care is taken for the vulnerable environment - what issues must be addressed within these guidelines?


Leadership in a Scandinavian context is often characterized as participatory, cooperative, and focused on consensus-building (Grennes, 2003; Dorfman et al., 2004). Many sustainability challenges could be characterized as “wicked problems” in which no single actor can solve alone. Thus when considered in contrast with “command” style approaches to leadership in which the ‘leader’ is expected provide the answer (Grint, 2005), what effects might this so-called “Scandinavian leadership” have on approaches to sustainability and performances in a Scandinavian context?

When it comes to the complex and co-mingled issues of sustainability and CSR – we have come to realize that context matters (Halme et al., 2009). What contextual elements are most salient when considering sustainability challenges and opportunities? What specificities may be most salient in a Scandinavian context and how does this compare vis-à-vis other contexts? We invite considerations regarding what contextual elements specifically matter when we say “context matters” when considering issues of sustainability and CSR.

Many have raised pedagogical challenges for effectively teaching sustainability in management education (Starik, Rands, Marcus, & Clark, 2010; Strand, 2011) and cite the need for more holistic, participatory, trans-disciplinary approaches that supplant a world-view in which business is placed at the center. Could a Scandinavian context provide an aspirational example for other contexts? For example, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Integrative Leadership (2013) and Institute on the Environment (2013) encourage participatory approaches to engage in sustainability related issues and the University of California-Berkeley (2013) Haas School of Business runs leading executive education programs in sustainability. What inspiration might these initiatives draw from a Scandinavian context? Furthermore, many globally recognized universities outside of Scandinavia including the University of Minnesota, University of California-Berkeley, University of Wisconsin, and University of Washington have strong traditions of Scandinavian studies as well as strong traditions of considerations for sustainability issues. How might these combined traditions of Scandinavian cultural interests and sustainability interests be leveraged to further consider sustainability in a Scandinavian context and the potential implications for a broader global context?

Scandinavian scholars have a long tradition of practicing “engaged scholarship” (Van de Ven, 2007) in which the lines between academia and practitioners are blurred.  This engaged approach presents the promise for better understanding the processes associated with managers negotiating the tensions associated with achieving simultaneous sustainability and economic objectives (Margolis & Walsh, 2003; Gond & Crane, 2010). Eric Rhenman and colleagues at the Scandinavian Institute for Administrative Research spurred on this tradition beginning in the 1960s and the widespread collaboration between academia and industry still enjoys a comparatively high status across Scandinavia (Lind & Rhenman, 1989; Engwall et al., 2002; Adler et al., 2004; Stymne, 2004; Mintzberg et al., 2009: 286-288; Lorange et al.,2003). Drawing from this tight collaboration between academia and industry, what engaged scholarship research can be promoted to further considerations of sustainability in a Scandinavian context?


Issues of democracy and citizenship (Andersen & Hoff, 2001), promotion of peace (Archer & Joenniemi, 2003), corporate-NGO partnerships, high levels of government-industry collaboration, corporate ownership structures including comparatively high levels of state ownership (López et al., 1999) and foundation ownership (Herlin & Pedersen, forthcoming), sustainable entrepreneurship (Hockerts & Wüstenhagen, 2010), long tradition of critical management studies, historically high levels of trust, and a tradition of Scandinavian literature with deep connections to sustainability related issues (Houe, 2012) are all of relevance when considering sustainability in a Scandinavian context. We encourage further discussion about these issues and considerations regarding how they connect with the aforementioned items of this list.


With all of this in consideration, we invite considerations regarding how do/do not these lessons apply in other contexts as we ultimately aim that our investigations sustainability in a Scandinavian context can lead to a deeper understanding for sustainability in a broader global context.


We invite you to join the conversation.




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Audebrand, L. K. 2010.  Sustainability in Strategic Management Education: The Quest for New Root Metaphors. Academy of Management Learning & Education. 9(3): 413–428.


Bjerke, B. (1999). Business leadership and culture. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.


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Gjølberg, M. (2009).  Measuring the immeasurable?. Constructing an index of CSR practices and CSR performance in 20 countries.  Scandinavian Journal of Management. 25(1): 10-22.


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Hockerts, K., & Wüstenhagen, R. (2010). Greening Goliaths versus emerging Davids—Theorizing about the role of incumbents and new entrants in sustainable entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Venturing, 25(5), 481-492.


Hoff, J. V., & Goul Andersen, J. (2001). Democracy and citizenship in Scandinavia. Palgrave Macmillan.


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Margolis, J. D., & Walsh, J. P. (2003). Misery loves companies: Rethinking social initiatives by business. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(2), 268-305.


Matten, D., & Moon, J. (2008). “Implicit” and “explicit” CSR: a conceptual framework for a comparative understanding of corporate social responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 33(2), 404-424.


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Midttun, A., Gautesen, K., & Gjølberg, M. (2006). The political economy of CSR in Western Europe. Corporate Governance - The International Journal of Business in Society, 6(4), 369–385.


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