Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Jean-Louis Schaan

2nd Supervisor

Claus Rerup

Joint Supervisor


This dissertation concentrates on the case of organizations that engage with the future with the intent to shape it. Engaging with the future implies identifying and pursuing opportunities aligned with one’s vision for the future and that have the potential to enact the environment. My specific focus is on the properties that can make the organization more effective at pursuing its objectives, to understand why these properties are important and how they can enhance an organization’s ability to engage with the future. The study builds on the extreme case of Greenpeace International, an organization that dedicates its actions to the enactment of a particular vision for the future. This vision implies the protection of the environment and the prevention of the depletion of species. The case is based on historiography. It uses historical documentation from Greenpeace International archives to reconstruct the intentions, structures, processes, and practices of the organization as well as the rationale behind its actions. The historical documentation is analyzed through periodization as well as through analytic constructs aligned with the process of engaging with the future. My study highlights the importance of the properties of flexibility (cognitive, operational, and financial), stability (attentional, structural, and in processes), and diversity (institutional, structural, and in the portfolio of action alternatives). What the research demonstrates is that flexibility, stability, and diversity are important to identify, pursue, and seize opportunities aligned with one’s vision for the future. Implications for organization theory, strategic management, and international management are discussed.