Research beyond growth: Sufficiency strategies for incumbent firms

In this series on “Research beyond growth” we feature scholarly articles and other research results focusing beyond the traditional growth- and efficiency-orientation in management science. Today our focus is on an article from two researchers of the German Wuppertal Institute. Karoline Augenstein and Alexandra Palzkill analyse how incumbent firms can become sustainability entrepreneurs and what role corporate narratives of sufficiency are playing.

Business transformations to sustainability present a dilemma for most incumbent firms, especially when this means going beyond concepts of green innovation, and includes sufficiency strategies. Even though sufficient lifestyles are still a niche phenomenon, it has been shown that currently dominating growth strategies contribute to structural crises. Incumbents are slowly beginning to face this challenge, which can be described in terms of a dilemma: if incumbents stick with their proven strategies and business models, they contribute to the emerging crises, which will most likely affect them in the long run. However, if they transform their business model in radical ways, e.g., by implementing sufficiency strategies, they will most likely fail in the short run. The question thus is, how can sufficiency strategies as a vital part of a future, more sustainable economy be translated into today’s business models? Read more >>

Augenstein, K., & Palzkill, A. (2015). The dilemma of incumbents in sustainability transitions: a narrative approach. Administrative Sciences, 6(1), 1.


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