Business Journals Lack Climate Change Discussion

by Jordan Aronowitz

Businesses are responsible for much of the greenhouse gas causing climate and are the ones likely to be adversely affected by it. Nevertheless, Goodall (2008) found that even though there is talk about businesses going greener to protect their own futures, there is little written about climate change in business and management journals. Goodall noted that climate change is a science issue, and a typical business journal would not focus on the sciences, but the discussion about climate change started decades ago. Thirty years later, she thinks that these journals should have begun to include conversation about climate change.

To analyze the top 30 business and management journals, the keywords global warming and climate change were used as a base to determine if an article discusses climate change. Overall, only 9 out of the top 30 business and management journals included an article discussing climate change in the past 30 years, but 35 out of the 50 business and management journals ranked in or below the top 50 included an article discussing climate change in the past 30 years. This change starts an interesting dialogue. It could be inferred that the top-rated journals have an agenda to not include articles about climate change, while lesser-rated journals include articles about those topics. In order to maintain a large audience, the top-rated business journals may want to avoid writing about climate change as it could be seen as criticizing business practices and inciting unwanted change, upsetting readers.

For social science disciplines, such economics, sociology, and political science, Four times the number of the journals have had writing about climate change than business and management journals, suggesting that social science journals are more willing to criticize their readers and are less concerned with maintaining a conservative agenda. The author believed (in 2008) that business journals need to write more the dangers of industrialization and its effect on the climate. It will be interesting to look at more recent papers on this topic to see if anything has changed.

Goodall, A. H. (2008). Why Have the Leading Journals in Management (and Other Social Sciences) Failed to Respond to Climate Change? Journal of Management Inquiry, 20(10), 1-14.





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