The majority of the business community, as well as many representatives of academic business administration, understand Sustainable Management as a more committed attempt to use raw materials and energy sources even more efficiently. Yet the problem remains: Even the most efficiently used resource will be depleted at some point.
The essence of the concept of sustainability however, consists of wise actions that do not consume their own preconditions for repetition. In economic terms: A way of doing business that does not consume more resources than can be reproduced. Sustainability is achieved when the substance is preserved in the long term.
A modern economy must therefore become bilingual: Every economic entity, whether an individual, a company, a social institution or a nation, must on the one hand use its material and immaterial resources very efficiently. On the other hand, these entities must maintain and preserve the substance or resource pool from which they live. These demands result in a tension that is not easily manageable.
Modern business management and decision-makers also need new terms and concepts as well as new skills to solve changing problems. The emerging concepts and terms developed in the field of Sustainable Management define sustainability as the task of taking the tangible and intangible resources of the economy into account. Decision-makers who want to reconcile this consideration with conventional decision-making routines need new competencies for Sustainable Leadership:
- Competence to deal with contradictions
- Competence to deal with trade-offs
- Competence for now-for-then decisions
- Competence to decelerate processes
- Competence to manage resources
- Competence for moral decisions
The translation of these competencies into a theoretically substantial and practically applicable concept of Sustainable Leadership was the fundamental research concern of the department in the years 2011-2015. The development of a resource-oriented conception of Sustainable Management was the research work of the years 2001-2011. The results are captured in: Müller-Christ, G. (2011): Nachhaltiges Management. Einführung in Ressourcenorientierung und widersprüchliche Managementrationalitäten. Baden-Baden. The results have been further developed in the second edition: Müller-Christ, G. (2014): Nachhaltiges Management. Einführung in Ressourcenorientierung und widersprüchliche Managementrationalitäten. 2., überarb. und erw. Aufl. Baden-Baden. UTB-SHOP.