Big Data, Management, and Sustainability: Strategic Opportunities Ahead


Published: 12May2016

Authors: Dror Etzion and J. Alberto Aragon-Correa

Publication: Organizational & Environment Journal 


We contend that big data and management for sustainability are very good bedfellows, in that many of the affordances big data provides are naturally aligned with sustainability concerns (e.g., multidimensional nature, collective actions, smart allocation of resources, efficiency priority). Notwithstanding this promising stepping off point, and the enticing analytical opportunities that an abundance of data will generate, we provide some reflections on big data and the most promising avenues of research it might inspire in the field of management and sustainability. In the first part of our essay, we explore what managers can do with big data to reinforce organizational sustainability and how different operational, strategic, and corporate activities are affected in this process. In the second part, we focus on what big data allows researchers to explore and examine, ranging from sustainability job descriptions through environmental metrics to industry transformation. We conclude by advocating for strong theoretical orientation in research on and with big data.

Read full article: Organization & Environment Journal, April 28, 2016