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Lost in delegation? (Dis)organizing for sustainability

Allen, Stephen; Brigham, Martin; Marshall, Judi


Stephen Allen

Martin Brigham

Judi Marshall


Using actor-networks as our conceptual lens for appreciating complex sociomaterial interdependencies, we explore how a vision to “do things differently” for sustainability becomes enacted and significantly diluted at a major brownfield development project in the UK. We show how visions for sustainability can become substantially delegated into a range of specialised and functionally differentiated practices, with nonhuman mediators producing significant agency. Additionally, extending actor-network approaches, we develop the concept of localised hybridity to consider how the possibilities for progressive sustainability practices are interdependent with mediators in other ‘locals’ across times and spaces. We suggest that greater reflexive attention and inquiry to the types of relational work required to form alliances with nonhuman mediators is crucial to realise visions for sustainability.


Allen, S., Brigham, M., & Marshall, J. (2018). Lost in delegation? (Dis)organizing for sustainability. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 34(1), 29-39.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 13, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 4, 2018
Publication Date Mar 1, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 8, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 5, 2020
Journal Scandinavian journal of management
Print ISSN 0956-5221
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 1
Pages 29-39
Keywords Sustainability; Sociomaterial; Actor-network; Translation; Hybrid; Mediator; Delegation; Reflexive
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2018, Elsevier. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Lost in delegation? (Dis)organizing for sustainability; Journal Title: Scandinavian Journal of Management; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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