Sustainability and social innovation in pandemic era

Stream #20

Chairs: Matteo Pedrini (Università Cattolica), Maria Cristina Zaccone (Università Cattolica), Marco Minciullo (Università Cattolica)

The global outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has taken a toll on several aspects of individuals life and challenged organizations and economic systems. Social distance, masks, and quarantine have profoundly changed the way we work and interact with others, generating both positive and negative impacts for environmental, social, and economic sustainability (Barbier & Burgess, 2020). On the one hand, the outbreak gave rise to feelings of fear, due to the huge amount of human life loss and employment instability. The radical shift to online meetings became a wake-up call for managers and entrepreneurs, who have suddenly seen their employees disappear from corporate offices. Likewise, the pandemic has been a challenge for working parents, who had to find creative ways to manage work at home. On the other hand, the natural environment benefited from lockdown and travel restrictions in terms of air and water quality (Amankwah-Amoah, 2020). 

All these aspects highlight the interconnectedness of social, environmental, and economic dimensions and how none of them should be forgotten. The future of human well-being may be seriously compromised if all three sustainability’s dimensions are not properly safeguarded (Folke et al., 2010). New practices and innovative solutions have been developed by individuals, groups of individuals, businesses, and governments to tackle emerging social, economic, and environmental concerns. Given this global persistence of the coronavirus pandemic, questions arise about the positive and negative impacts of COVID-19 at micro (individuals and single organizations), meso (industry and sectors) and macro (institutional contexts).

 The purpose of this stream is thus to facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas across disciplines, to understand: how COVID-19 outbreak affected individuals, organizations and systems as well as to explore what kind of innovative solutions have been implemented to overcome the pandemic and foster resilience. We invite scholars to reflect, theorize and apply rigorous methodological approaches answering to material questions on sustainability and social innovation in the pandemic era. 

Example of questions to be addressed are the following:

  • How the COVID-19 outbreak affected individuals’ work-life balance?
  • How the COVID-19 changed business leader’s decision making?
  • How individuals reimagined their work due to COVID-19 outbreak?
  • How the organizations built up and strengthened resilience during the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • Which innovative solutions have been developed because of the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • Which innovative solutions have been developed by financial institutions because of the COVID-19 outbreak? 
  • Which innovative solutions have been developed by higher education institutions because of the COVID-19 outbreak?
  • How organizations relying on one specific industry collaborated to tackle with COVID-19?
  • These questions are suggestive and not exhaustive. We welcome a wide variety of perspectives and methodological approaches.