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A tragedy of intangible commons: Riding the socioecological wave

Norman Meisinger

Ecological Economics, 2022, vol. 193, issue C

Abstract: The socioecological discourse has recently gained strong attention. Suddenly, most firms now try to engage quickly with precarious issues because consumers demand an attitude toward our grand challenges, not merely products anymore. Starting from neo‐institutionalist critiques, which dominate the corporate green and socialwashing discourse, this essay argues from a largely neglected perspective by drawing attention to the impacts on the longstanding pioneers of socioecologically valuable business practices. Almost no research to date has illuminated the phenomenon whereby pioneering firms lose their unique selling propositions because others are ‘riding the wave’ and reaping where they have not sown. By applying a resource-based argumentation, the idea of a tragedy of intangible commons is unfolded to explain what made this phenomenon possible and why it could even occur.

Keywords: Socioecological facades; Corporate greenwashing; Tragedy of the commons; Corporate social responsibility; Corporate sustainability; Socioecological pioneers; Intangible commons; Free riders; Hypocrisy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107298

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