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The Corporation is Ailing Social Technology: Creating a ‘Fit for Purpose’ Design for Sustainability


  • L. Metcalf


  • S. Benn



Designed to facilitate economic development, the corporate form now threatens human survival. This article presents an argument that organisations are yet to be ‘fit for purpose’ and that the corporate form needs to be re-designed to reach sustainability. It suggests that organisations need to recognise their agent status amongst a much wider and highly complex array of interconnected, dynamic economic, environmental and social systems. Human Factors theory is drawn on to propose that business systems could be made sustainable through re-design. They could fit their environment more appropriately by improving: Efficiency, Adaptability and Social Cohesion. Leaders of organisations would also need to take a holistic approach to alter the organisation proactively to adapt to the systems within which it is embedded. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • L. Metcalf & S. Benn, 2012. "The Corporation is Ailing Social Technology: Creating a ‘Fit for Purpose’ Design for Sustainability," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 111(2), pages 195-210, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:111:y:2012:i:2:p:195-210
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1201-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jbuset:v:145:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3241-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nicos A. Scordis & Yoshihiko Suzawa & Astrid Zwick & Lucia Ruckner, 2014. "Principles for Sustainable Insurance: Risk Management and Value," Risk Management and Insurance Review, American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 17(2), pages 265-276, September.
    3. Louise Metcalf & Sue Benn, 2013. "Leadership for Sustainability: An Evolution of Leadership Ability," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 369-384, February.
    4. Janine Hiller, 2013. "The Benefit Corporation and Corporate Social Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 287-301, December.


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