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Dr. Elizabeth Kurucz is Associate Professor of Leadership and Sustainability in the Department of Management, Gordon S. Lang School of Business at the University of Guelph. Elizabeth holds an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from McMaster University and a Master of Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto, along with a PhD in Organizational Behaviour from the Schulich School of Business, York University. Her research is focused on the innovative design of interactions between individuals and organizations that catalyze learning toward social-ecological resilience.
Elizabeth's work has been published in journals such as the Journal of Business Ethics, Organization & Environment, the Journal of Cleaner Production, Management Learning, Business & Society, Human Resource Planning, and in the Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility and The Sage Handbook of Complexity and Management. Her book, with Barry Colbert and David Wheeler, is Reconstructing Value: Leadership Skills for a Sustainable World (2013) from the University of Toronto Press. A second edition of this book is currently underway.
Since 1998 Elizabeth’s teaching at York University, McMaster University, Dalhousie University and the Ontario College of Art and Design has focused primarily in the area of leadership, strategy and sustainability. She has designed and delivered courses for BComm, BBA, IBBA, MBA, MES, MEPP, EMDES, MA and PhD students and senior and middle managers across private, not-for-profit, and government organizations. Her courses have been profiled in Corporate Knights magazine and by the Aspen Centre for Business Education as innovative in the field.
She has been responsible for embedding sustainability in the Department of Management curriculum and was previously Co-Chair of a multi-disciplinary community of practice on Education for Sustainability. Elizabeth was awarded the University of Guelph Faculty Association’s Distinguished Professor Award for 2013 in recognition of her facilitative, learner-centred approach to teaching and her innovation in course design and delivery.
Elizabeth is faculty advisor for the Net Impact Graduate Chapter at the University of Guelph, which serves to link undergraduate business students with an interest in business and sustainability to other students and practitioners in this field. She also served as the faculty advisor who helped to establish the University of Guelph's Students Offering Support (SOS) Chapter that raises money to raise roofs through raising marks during their ‘Exam-AID’ group review sessions, taught and coordinated by student volunteers for university and high school students. Each year, the money raised will be spent creating sustainable education projects in developing nations on annual outreach trips.
Over the past decade, Elizabeth has created linkages between her research and teaching, and managers and employees aspiring to more sustainable practices. Using a design lab approach to multi-sector engagement, she looks for opportunities to build capacity in organizations while facilitating student learning and provoking insights in the academic field of business and sustainability.
Prior to pursuing an academic career, Elizabeth worked for several years in the field of Outdoor Education and also as a consultant in the Human Capital Solutions Group at KPMG, specializing in competency profile development. She has led several research and stakeholder consultation projects, including a study of social capital building in the Western Canadian energy sector, a stakeholder benefits assessment for the Randle Reef environmental remediation project in Hamilton Harbour, and ‘Sustainable Canada’, a study of the potential for branding Canada for sustainability that involved 14 companies across 8 industrial sectors.
- PhD Organizational Behaviour, EK Haub Business and Sustainability Program, Schulich School of Business, York University
- MIR, Centre for Industrial Relations, University of Toronto
- Hons BA, Anthropology, McMaster University
- UGFA Distinguished Professor Award for CME 2013
Dr. Kurucz's research program is focused on the role of organizations in building social-ecological resilience and the leadership required to facilitate sustainability transitions. She is Principal Investigator for a SSHRC Insight project "Social Learning for Resilience" focused on the design processes and leadership principles of university based sustainability labs that catalyze societal learning. She is a collaborator on a SSHRC Partnership project "TRANSFORM:Accelarating Sustainbility Entrepreneurship Experiments in Local Spaces" that spans 8 countries and includes 11 universities and 15 partner organizations. This research is focused on supporting SMEs as they develop, implement and evaluate experiments that shift communities toward greater sustainability. Her four major streams of research include: i) Organizational Change toward more Sustainable Business Practices; ii.) Relational Leadership, Sustainability and Social-Ecological Resilience; iii) Multi-Sector Collaboration and Societal Learning for Sustainability Transitions and; iv) Management Education for Sustainability.
Elizabeth has conducted research in sustainability focused management and business practices across a wide range of industry sectors (finance, energy, ICT, mining, forestry, agriculture and tourism among others) and in not-for profit, private and public organizations. She has a particular area of strength in building and participating in collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects that are directed toward a dual purpose of academic impact and advancement of societal level sustainability initiatives.
- Colbert, B. A., Nicholson, J., & Kurucz, E. C. (2018). Humanistic leadership for sustainable transformation. In S. Steffen, J. Rezmovits, S. Trevenna and S. Rappaport (Eds.), Evolving Leadership for Collective Wellbeing: Lessons for Implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
- McDermott, K, B. Colbert and E. Kurucz. 2019. Sustainability CoLab: Scaling Local Impact. Sage Business Cases: Sustainability Series. Sage Publishing: Thousand Oaks, CA
- McDermott, K., Kurucz, E. C., & Colbert, B. A. 2018. Social Entrepreneurial Opportunity and Active Stakeholder Participation: Resource Mobilization in Enterprising Conveners of Cross-Sector Social Partnerships. Journal of Cleaner Production, 183, 121-131.
- McDermott, Kevin, Elizabeth Kurucz and Barry Colbert. 2017. Collaborative civil society organizations and sustainable cities: The role of 'mobilizing leadership' in building the integral commons. Organization & Environment. Online First, August 15: 1-21.
- Nicholson, Jessica and Elizabeth Kurucz. 2017. Relational leadership for sustainability: Building an ethical framwork from the moral theory of 'ethics of care'. Journal of Business Ethics. Online First, June 3: 1-19.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C., Barry Cobert, Florian Lüdeke-Freund, Antony, Upward and Bob Willard. 2017. Relational leadership for strategic sustainability: Practices and capabilities to advance the design and assessment of sustainable business models. The Journal of Cleaner Production. Vol 140: 189-204.
- Nicholson, Jessica and Elizabeth Kurucz. 2017. Fostering an emergent mindset in leaders: The role of caring in leadership development. IN: Developing Leaders for Positive Organizing: A 21st Century Repertoire for Leading in Extraordinary Times. Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, UK: 55-68.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C., Barry Colbert and Joel Marcus. 2014. Sustainability as a Provocation to Rethink Management Education: Building a Progressive Educative Practice. Management Learning. Vol 45(4): 437-457.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C., Barry Colbert and David Wheeler. 2013. Reconstructing Value: Leadership Skills for a Sustainable World. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press/Rotman Press. ISBN: 9781442611535.
- Colbert, Barry A. and Elizabeth C. Kurucz. 2011. “A Complexity Perspective of Strategic Human Resource Management”. P.Allen, S. Maguire and B. McKelvey (eds.). The Sage Handbook of Complexity and Management, p. 400-417. London, UK: Sage Publications, Inc.
- Marcus, Joel, Elizabeth C. Kurucz and Barry Colbert. 2010. Conceptions of the Business, Society, Nature Interface: Implications for Business and Society Scholarship. Business & Society. 49(3)-402-438.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C., Barry A. Colbert and David Wheeler, 2008. The Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility. In A. Crane, A. McWilliams, D. Matten, J. Moon, D. Seigel (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook on Corporate Social Responsibility. Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 83-112.
- Colbert, Barry A. and Elizabeth C. Kurucz, 2007. Three Conceptions of Triple Bottom Line Business Sustainability and the Role for HRM. Human Resource Planning, 30(1): 21-29.
- Colbert, Barry. A., E.C. Kurucz and D.C. Wheeler. 2007. Building the Sustainable Organization through Adaptive, Creative Coherence in the HR System. In R. Burke and C. Cooper (Eds.), Building More Effective Organizations. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
- Burke, R. J. and Kurucz, E.C. (1998). Demographic Characteristics of Canadian Women Corporate Directors. Psychological Reports, 83, 461-462.
Selected Research Reports and Professional Magazines:
- Dey, A., Kurucz, E.C. and Colbert, B.A. 2010. Integrating Sustainability into Business Education: Workshop Report. CMA Centre for Business & Sustainability. Access at:http://legacy.wlu.ca/documents/42218/Integrating_Sustainability_in_Mgmt_Edn_-_May_2010_workshop_report.pdf
- Kurucz, E. C., and Gosselin O'Meara, A. 2014. How to Create Sustainable Leaders. Corporate Knights Magazine, Winter 2014 Issue.
- Kurucz, E. C. Colbert, B.A. and Wheeler, D. 2009. The Social Responsibility of Business is to Create Value. Managing and Developing: pp. 4-5.
- Bhojani, Z. & Kurucz, E. 2018. The Role of Leader Mindfulness in Driving Effective Decision Making for Transformation in Latin America. ILA Regional Conference: Exploring the Dilemmas of Leadership in Latin America, Lima, Peru
- Bhojani, Z. & Kurucz, E. 2018. Rethinking Prosperity as Sustainable Happiness: The Role of Leader Mindfulness. ILA Annual Conference: Authentic Leadership for Progress, Peace & Prosperity, West Palm Beach,
- Harrison, J., Luederitz, C., Kurucz, E. C., DesJardins, E., Colbert, B. A., & Geobey, S. 2018. Leveraging university - based sustainability labs for social-ecological resilience: Practical design principles to catalyze social learning. 4th Energy and Society Conference: Energy transitions in a divided world, Exeter, United Kingdom.
- McDermott, K., Colbert, B. A., & Kurucz, E. C. 2018. Sustainability CoLab: Scaling Local Impact. Administrative Science Association of Canada, Toronto, Canada.
- Nicholson, J., Colbert, B. A., & Kurucz, E. 2018. Scaling Deep as Caring in Social Innovation Intermediaries. 6th Biennial International Symposium on Cross-Sector Social Interactions, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Nicholson, J. E. Kurucz and B. Colbert. 2017. Empathic Leadership’ and Scaling Social Enterprise in Turbulent Times: An Empirical Examination. Presented at the International Leadership Association's Annual Coference "Leadership in Turbulent Times". Brussels, Belgium, October 12-15.
- Kurucz, E., B. Colbert and S. Geobey. 2017. University-based sustainabiility labs and socio-ecological resilience: Designing relational spaces to catlyze social learning. Presented at Resilience 2017: Resilience Frontiers for Global Sustainability. Stockholm, Sweden, August 20-23.
- Colbert, B.and E. Kurucz. 2017. Bottom-up meets top down in climate governance: The role of collaborative civil society organizations in scaling out, up and deep. Presented at Resilience 2017: Resilience Frontiers for Global Sustainability. Stockholm, Sweden, August 20-23.
- Nicholson, J., Kurucz, E., & Colbert, B. 2017. ‘The role of care in scaling social enterprise initiatives: Scaling deep with ‘Empathic Leadership’’ to be presented at the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) 2017 conference in Copenhagen Denmark, July.
- Nicholson, J., Kurucz, E., & Colbert, B.. 2017. ‘Scaling deep for lasting impact: Fostering scaling efforts with ‘Empathic Leadership’. Presented at the International Association for Business & Society (IABS) conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, June.
- Nicholson, J., Kurucz, E., & Colbert, B. 2017. ‘Scaling deep for sustainability: Increasing the impact of an environmental social enterprise through 'empathic leadership'’. Presented at the IESE-LUISS Conference on Responsibility, Sustainability, and Social Entrepreneurship in Rome, Italy, April.
- Nicholson, J., E.C. Kurucz and B.A. Colbert. 2016. "The Role of Caring in Scaling Social Enterprise Initiatives". Presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Association for Business and Society, Park City, Utah, June 16-19.
- Kurucz, E., B. Colbert and S. Geobey. 2016. "Sustainability Focused Learning Networks: Designing Cross-Sector Interactions to Promote Social Learning". Presented at the Cross-Sector Partnerships for Systemic Change Conference, Toronto, ON April 17-20, 2016.
- Fidler, C., Bradshaw, B., Auld, G.and Kurucz, E. 2016. "Environmental Governance Mechanisms in Canada: Engaging Practitioners to Assess the Effectiveness of Cross-Sector Social Interactions". To be presented at the Cross-Sector Partnerships for Systemic Change Conference taking place in Toronto, on April 17-20.
- Colbert, B.A. and Kurucz, E.C. Leadership for Sustainability as Transformative Learning. 2015. Presented at the Irish Academy of Management Annual Conference, Galway, Ireland: September.
- Colbert, B.A. and Kurucz, E.C. Sustainability Conversations: Surfacing Fundamental Tensions in Corporate Sustainability. Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Conference Research Workshop - Paradoxes in Corporate Sustainability, Vancouver, Canada: August 2015.
- Nicholson, J. and Kurucz, E.C. The Process of Relational Leadership Development: Fostering a Relational Stance through a Caring Approach. Presented at the 7th Developing Leadership Capacity Conference, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: July 2015.
- Colbert, B. A. and Kurucz, E.C. Multi-Sector Collaboration for Sustainability: Adaptive Learning and Distributive Governance. Presented at the 4th International Symposium on Cross Sector Social Interactions, Boston, Massachusetts: May 2014.
- McDermott, K., Kurucz, E.C. and Colbert, B. A. Integrative Leadership and the Formation Stage of Cross-sector Social Partnerships. Presented at the 4th International Symposium on Cross Sector Social Interactions, Boston, Massachusetts: May 2014.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. and Barry A. Colbert. 2013. Wicked problems, multi-sector collaboration and societal learning. International Association for Business and Society (IABS) Annual Meeting. Portland, Oregon, June 20-23.
- Colbert, Barry A., Elizabeth C. Kurucz and Kevin McDermott. 2013. Motivating multi-sector collaboration. International Association for Business and Society (IABS) Annual Meeting. Portland, Oregon, June 20-23.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. and Rumina Dhalla. 2013. The More Things Change the More they Stay the Same: The PRME as a Challenge to the Institutional Logic of Business Schools. e3: Earth, Education, Economics: The First Regional PRME Canada Regional Meeting. Edmonton, Alberta, June 11-12, 2013.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. & Barry A. Colbert. 2012. Reconstructing Value. The Organization Behaviour Teaching Society Management Educators Annual Conference, St. Catharines, ON, June 20-23.
- Marcus, Joel, Elizabeth C. Kurucz & Barry A. Colbert. The Societal Case for Sustainability: Business Principles for Building the Integral Commons. The International Association for Business and Society (IABS), Aspen, CO, June 2009.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. “Free Agent and Integral Component: The Impact of the Externalization of the Workforce on Organizational Culture.” Academy of Management Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, August 2004.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C., Barry A.Colbert and David C. Wheeler, 2002. "Sustainability and Organizational Identity: Is it Really in Our Bones? Exploring the Relevance of Organizational Identity as a Frame for Understanding Sustainability” Greening of Industry Network Annual Conference: Corporate Governance for Sustainability, Göteborg, Sweden.
- Colbert, Barry A., Elizabeth C. Kurucz and David C. Wheeler. 2002. “Leadership for Sustainability: A Pilot Study to Build Sustainable Canada.” Greening of Industry Network Annual Conference: Corporate Governance for Sustainability, Göteborg, Sweden.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. 2000. "Interdiscursivity and 'Playing the Game but not Crossing the Line': Autopoietic Systems and the Process of Organizational Identity in an Environmental Education Centre", Organizational Discourse: Word-views, Work-views and World-views, King's College, University of London, England.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C., Barry Colbert and David Wheeler. Reconstructing Value: Leadership Skills for a Sustainable World. Presented at McMaster Engineering for Sustainability. November 7, 2013, Hamilton, ON.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C., Barry Colbert and David Wheeler. Reconstructing Value: Leadership Skills for a Sustainable World. Presented at the University of Toronto Sustainability Experts Speaker Series, Rotman. September 5, 2013, Toronto, ON.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. Corporate Social Responsibility: The Embedded View. Presented in plenary at The University of Guelph Hammond Lecture Series, March 27, 2010.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. Leadership for Sustainability. Presented at The University of Guelph College Royal Lecture Series, March 21, 2010, Guelph, ON.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. and Barry Colbert. Rethinking the Business Case for Sustainability. Presented at The University of Guelph’s 16th Annual Environmental Sciences Symposium. January, 16, 2010, Guelph, ON.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. “Engaging Employees at Multiple Levels in the Organizations through Sustainability Conversations”. Presented in plenary at the Business Council for Sustainability Meeting: The Conference Board of Canada. Montreal, September 9, 2009.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth C. Beyond the Business Case for Corporate Social Responsibility. Presented in plenary at The University of Guelph CSR Symposium. Guelph Arboretum, October 31, 2008.
- Kurucz, Elizabeth and Barry Colbert. Building Sustainable Organizations, Communities, and the Public Service through ‘Sustainability Conversations’. Presented in plenary at Stakeholder Consultations for Government: Managing Public Consultations and Strengthening Stakeholder Relationships. Ottawa, April, 2007.
- Colbert, B. A., Kurucz, E., & Nicholson, J. 2018. Building Better Lives through Business Schools: The Role of Humanistic Pragmatism and Relational Learning. ONE PDW Workshop, Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Conference, Chicago, IL.
- Nicholson, J. and E. C. Kurucz. 2016. "Uniting in Service through an Ethic of Care in Teaching and Learning" Presented at the 43rd OBTC Teaching Conference for Management Educators, Walsh University, Canton, Ohio, June 8-11.
- Kurucz, E. C., Colbert, B. A., and McDermott, K. Opening Governance Through Multi-Sector Collaboration: The Role of Leadership and Organizational Design in Societal Learning for Sustainability. ODC PDW presented at the Academy of Management Annual Conference, Vancouver, Canada: August 2015.
- Colbert, B. A., Kurucz, E.C., and Marcus, J. Unlearning Our Way Out: Reflective Practice for a Sustainable Society. Presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Business Ethics, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: August 2014.
- Kurucz, E. C. and Colbert, B. A. Reconstructing Value: Management Education and Sustainability. Presented at the The Organization Behaviour Teaching Society Management Educators Annual Conference, St. Catharines, Ontario: June 2012.
- Kurucz, E. C., Colbert, B. A., and Wheeler, D. Why the Business Case for Sustainability Won't Work: Building Momentum for Change through Sustainability Conversations. ONE PDW presented at the Academy of Management Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia: August 2006.
- Wheeler, D., Svendsen, A., Boutilier, B. and Kurucz, E.C. Stakeholder Engagement for Sustainability, Innovation and Competitiveness. Presented at the Academy of Management Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado: August 2002.
- Principal Investigator for a SSHRC Insight Research Grant: “Social Learning toward Resilience: The Role of Sustainability Design Labs”. Status: awarded April 2014, fully funded until 2020: $126, 150.
- Co-Investigator for a SSHRC Partnership Grant: "TRANSFORM: Accelerating Sustainability Entrpreneurship Experiments in Local Spaces". Status: awarded April 2018, fully funded until 2025: $2.4 million.
- Co-Investigator for a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant: “The Changing Face of Environmental Governance”. Status: awarded March 2014, fully funded for three years: $176, 720.
- Principal Investigator for a SSHRC Institutional Grant - General Research Grant "Social Learning Toward Resilience" (total of $9, 290 funds granted - ORS and CME)
- Co-Investigator, for a SSHRC Standard Research Grant, Canadian Environmental Issues - Special Call, “Carbon Neutrality: Collaborative Environmental Non-Profit Organizations as Institutional Entrepreneurs” (total of $91, 600 funds granted).
- Collaborator on an OMAFRA Agricultural and Rural Policy grant “Innovative Partnerships for Regional Economic Development: Ontario’s Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology in Collaboration with Rural Small/Medium Enterprises” (total of $78,300 funds granted).
MGMT 6130 - The Creative Process of Innovation
LEAD 6500 - Leadership Ethics
BUS 6300 - Business Practices for Sustainability
HROB 2010 - Foundations of Leadership
LEAD 6100 - Theories of Leadership
BUS 6300 - Business Practices for Sustainability
Courses Previously Taught:
BUS 6600 - Sustainable Value Creation
LEAD 6350 The Role of the Leader as Reflective Practitioner;
MGMT 6820 - Theory of Mangement