Gail Whiteman

Visiting Professor

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Gail Whiteman is Visiting Professor at IMD and Professor of Sustainability at the University of Exeter Business School’s Department of Management.

She was previously the Rubin Chair, Director of the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business at Lancaster University, UK, and the Professor-in-Residence at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. As an expert on global risk, her research analyzes how business makes sense of complex problems and build resilience across scales given environmental pressures and social inequities.

Whiteman is the creator of the Arctic Basecamp at Davos (2017, 2018, 2019), an innovative science-outreach event concurrent with the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, which calls for action from world leaders to address global risks from climate change.

She serves on numerous academic advisory boards and has over 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications in the Academy of Management Journal, Nature, Climatic Change, Journal of Management Studies, Organization Studies, Ecology & Society, among others.

Whiteman co-authored the 2017 essay Three years to safeguard our climate with former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres, which was followed up in 2018 with their 2018 article Emissions are still rising: Ramp up the cuts.

Academic publications
Three years to safeguard our climate
[No abstract available]
Published 29 June 2017
Towards a balanced view of Arctic shipping : Estimating economic impacts of emissions from increased traffic on the Northern Sea Route
The extensive melting of Arctic sea ice driven by climate change provides opportunities for commercial shipping due to shorter travel distances of up to 40% between Asia and Europe. It has been est...
Published 1 July 2017
Radical innovation for sustainability: The power of strategy and open innovation
Sustainability oriented innovation continues to garner increasing attention as the answer to how firms may improve environmental and/or social performance while simultaneously finding competitive a...
Published 1 December 2017
All options, not silver bullets, needed to limit global warming to 1.5 ◦C: A scenario appraisal
Climate science provides strong evidence of the necessity of limiting global warming to 1.5 ◦C, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. The IPCC 1.5 ◦C special report (SR1.5) presents 414 emissio...
Published 25 January 2021
Provoked by Charlie Hebdo: Visual satire and management studies
The article discusses the visual satire on the front cover of the "Survivor's issue" of the French magazine "Charlie Hebdo" following the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, France. It provides a...
Published 1 July 2018
Decoupling rape
We report a longitudinal study of a Malaysian forestry firm’s operations in Guyana, South America, to show how certification and corporate social irresponsibility—in this case, the rape of girls an...
Published 9 May 2016
Vehicle emissions: Volkswagen and the road to Paris
[No abstract available]
Published 5 November 2015
Social enterprise emergence from social movement activism : The fairphone case
Effectuation theory invests agency - intention and purposeful enactment - for new venture creation in the entrepreneurial actor(s). Based on the results of a 15-month in-depth longitudinal case stu...
Published 1 July 2016
Poles apart: The Arctic & management studies
[No abstract available]
Published 1 July 2018
Emissions are still rising: Ramp up the cuts
With sources of renewable energy spreading fast, all sectors can do more to decarbonize the world, argue Christiana Figueres and colleagues. © 2018, Nature.
Published 5 December 2018
Climate policy implications of nonlinear decline of Arctic land permafrost and other cryosphere elements
Arctic feedbacks accelerate climate change through carbon releases from thawing permafrost and higher solar absorption from reductions in the surface albedo, following loss of sea ice and land snow...
Published 23 April 2019
Backstage interorganizational collaboration: Corporate endorsement of sustainable development goals
In September 2015, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Development Goals as the global development agenda. Since then, many companies have endorsed the goals. However, research has yet to a...
Published 1 December 2019
A lot of icing but little cake?: Taking integrated reporting forward
Integrated reporting has fast emerged as a new accounting practice to help firms understand how they create value and be able to effectively communicate this to external stakeholders. While insight...
Published 10 November 2016
Research priorities for managing the impacts and dependencies of business upon food, energy, water and the environment
Delivering access to sufficient food, energy and water resources to ensure human wellbeing is a major concern for governments worldwide. However, it is crucial to account for the ‘nexus’ of interac...
Published 1 March 2017
Systems thinking: A review of sustainability management research
Scholars from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives have sought to unravel the high complexities of sustainability. A mature understanding of sustainability management requires studies to ad...
Published 1 April 2017
Cross-Scale systemic resilience: Implications for organization studies
In this article, we posit that a cross-scale perspective is valuable for studies of organizational resilience. Existing research in our field primarily focuses on the resilience of organizations, t...
Published 2 January 2021
Place and sense of place: Implications for organizational studies of sustainability
Notions of place and sense of place appear more frequently in organizational research, reflecting the growing influence of human and cultural geography on the field. This article argues that schola...
Published 1 July 2014
Corporate philanthropic responses to emergent human needs : The role of organizational attention focus
Research on corporate philanthropy typically focuses on organization-external pressures and aggregated donation behavior. Hence, our understanding of the organization-internal structures that deter...
Published 1 August 2016
A framework for assessing the economic impacts of Arctic change
The scientific literature on physical changes in the Arctic region driven by climate change is extensive. In addition, the emerging understanding of physical feedbacks and teleconnections between t...
Published 1 February 2020
A call for deep engagement for impact: Addressing the planetary emergency
In a world facing catastrophic shocks, there are tremendous opportunities for management scholars to engage and make fundamental contributions to the grand challenges that lie ahead. To do so, our ...
Published 1 August 2021
Insight for Executives
Is your company monitoring “frontier risks”?
In business, it’s sometimes said you should expect the unexpected. But as we attempt to identify and navigate such global risks as climate change, biodiversity loss, and geopolitical unrest, it’s t...
Published 30 November 2021
Sustainable development: Trust the science and get ready for constant change
Sustainable development: Trust the science and get ready for constant change
The UN set ambitious targets to clean up the world by 2030, but business leaders need to do more to make them a reality.
Published 16 September 2021