Understanding planetary ethics and agentic capacities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) decision-makers

Year: 2019

Author: Paquette, Marie-Laurence

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This research is premised on a new planetary consciousness in the age of the Capitalocene. More specifically, it is about small medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the necessity of a paradigm shift. Urgent changes are needed, because business as usual will not be sustained by the transitions required in the upcoming decades in the age of the Anthropocene.

Drawing on theories of posthumanism, poststructuralism and postmodernism, and the spaces in-between those theoretical positions, this paper offers a theoretical bridge across these major fields of thought. Through this, binaries, social organisational structures and metanarratives are challenged. This research explains how such an approach can lead to a transdisciplinary review of modern and applied futuristic concepts of economy, education and Earth system sciences and leads to the identification of sixteen planetary futures expanding a wide spectrum of future perspectives, from humans’ extinction to space conquest.

Such narrative is currently discussed with a group of SMEs decision-makers to co-understand the diversity of planetary ethics among them. In the process, the research also ethically co-identify tools for efficient communication and education between educators and SMEs. Finally, a co-mapping process is undertaken through an exploratory exercise of inquiry regarding emotions and planetary ethics in the decision-making processes of SMEs. Preliminary observations on the methodology are presented.

This research is important because the world is witnessing accelerating changes on several levels from biodiversity loss to resource availability, from globally connected markets to complex technologies, from opposing debates to financial disparity and from financial to environmental crises. Therefore, this paper explores a PhD research project that seeks to contribute a detailed understanding of the ways that decision-makers of SMEs might choose to respond to planetary ethics, as well as what has the potential to motivate accountability according to them.