What is it about?

Natural resources are unlike others that are traded in markets or proprietary to firms because their availability depends on natural processes outside of societal control. This paper develops a theory to help explain the unique challenges posed by natural resource scarcity and uncertainty that accounts for the natural processes behind them. It also theorizes how social and ecological considerations determine firms' approach to managing these issues, either with practices that conserve ecosystems or further exploit them, depending on their view of the role of nature in socioeconomic systems.

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Why is it important?

We are now in the Anthropocene geological era, where humanity's behaviors have altered global ecological in ways that have impoverished critical ecosystems. These impacts are creating syst;emic changes that will alter our habitat. Organizational theory to date has been largely silent about the implications for firms; and yet, it is undeniable that firms will be affected. This article hopefully will add to the momentum to the research efforts on this topic.


The goal of this article is develop organizational theory for management scholars who are concerned with how organizations and nature affect each other. The field to date has focused mainly on the societal factors drive firms to adopt or change environmental practices, but not how changes in nature also drive corporate behavior. Moving forward, this research topic will become critical, as ecosystems around the globe are failing and the resultant effects of firms will necessitate action.

Pete Tashman
University of Massachusetts Lowell

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: A Natural Resource Dependence Perspective of the Firm: How and Why Firms Manage Natural Resource Scarcity, Business & Society, January 2020, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0007650319898811.
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