Organising in the Anthropocene: an ontological outline for ecocentric theorising

Pasi Heikkurinen, Jenny Rinkinen, Timo Järvensivu, Kristoffer Bernhard Wilén, Toni Ruuska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


As a response to anthropogenic ecological problems, a group of organisation scholars have acknowledged the importance of ecocentric theorising that takes materiality and non-human objects seriously. The purpose of this article is to examine the philosophical basis of ecocentric organisation studies and develop an ontological outline for ecocentric theorising in the Anthropocene. The paper identifies the central premises of ecocentric organisations from the previous literature, and complements the theory with a set of ontological qualities common to all objects. The study draws on recent advances in object-oriented and ecological philosophies to present three essential qualities of objects, namely autonomy, uniqueness, and intrinsicality. The paper discusses how these qualities are critical in reclaiming the lost credibility and practical relevance of ecocentrism in both organisational theory and the sustainability sciences in general. To organise human activities in a sustainable manner in the new geological era, a new ontology is needed that not only includes materiality and non-humans in the analysis, but also leads to an ecologically and ethically broader understanding of ecospheric beings and their relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue numberFebruary
Pages (from-to)705–714
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • 999 Others
  • Anthropocene
  • Ecocentric
  • Ecocentrism
  • Ecosophy
  • Ontology
  • Organisation


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