TEACHING CASE STUDY: SYSTEMS LENS TO SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY AT TAOS SKI VALLEY
A reductionist view or the breaking down of the whole into smaller, more manageable parts is commonplace among managerial frameworks. When faced with complex issues, managers are often motivated to analyze and solve problems by focusing on each part of a system, often disregarding the interconnectedness of the parts and how each part behaves in a nonlinear structure of a circular system. System theory focuses on the whole and is a robust tool to study the multidimensions of sustainability-relate strategies in business. In this teaching case study, students will be introduced to a system in its full complexity including interconnections between the elements, the variety of relationships (negative and positive feedback loop, reinforcing relationships, balancing relationships), and to unintended consequences – i.e., when a change in one part of the system, changes the other parts. Students will also be introduced to the idea of identifying leverage points and to understand that decision-makers can positively change a system. This teaching case study is being designed for graduate level courses such as Social and Environmental Sustainability in Business, Business and Society, and Strategic Management.