Redefining success in organizing towards degrowth-inspired futures
This paper brings degrowth scholarship in conversation with living systems theory in efforts to propose a novel conceptualization of success in organizing towards degrowth-inspired futures. The initiatives that embody the paths and pursuits of degrowth are multi-faceted in their socio-political functioning and require new metrics of achievement. To this aim we explore the trajectories of five community-based initiatives in the province of Barcelona (Spain) that aim at sustainable food, energy and living space provisioning through the prism of a tripartite model of success. We argue that ‘success’ can be claimed when i) results, ii) people and iii) processes are well-aligned. Success can be conceptualized as a continuous balancing act between the pursuit of objectives and acts of care for individual needs and group processes. The three edges of success are not stand-alone, but rather intertwined in a way that each one influences and is influenced by the others, just like the multiple significations of degrowth. In that sense the only ethically conceivable degrowth futures are ones where the quality of the groups processes within the existing organizations and the well-being of their members, or otherwise – care, are embodied and hardwired at the level of the praxis.