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RAM. Revista de Administração Mackenzie

On-line version ISSN 1678-6971


MAIA, Andrei Giovani  and  PIRES, Paulo dos Santos. An understanding of sustainability through the levels of organizational complexity of decisions. RAM, Rev. Adm. Mackenzie (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.12, n.3, pp.177-206. ISSN 1678-6971.

In a capitalist society, organizational decisions, usually aimed at the economic dimension, triggered or exacerbated the socio-environmental problems in many countries. In the search for solutions to such problems arises in the 1980s the concept of sustainable development proposing to meet the needs of present generations without compromising the care of the needs of future generations (COMISSÃO MUNDIAL SOBRE MEIO AMBIENTE E DESENVOLVIMENTO, 1988). Considered a subjective concept and open to interpretation, sustainable development, includes support of three essential dimensions: the economic, the social and the environmental one. Thus, under the organizational perspective, to make decisions that contribute to sustainability, has become at least a big challenge, because beyond the economic dimension, decision makers must deal simultaneously with the social and environmental dimensions. This shows that there are levels of decisions defined as simple, average, and complex and that these levels tend to influence or compromise the achievement of sustainability differently, depending on the service satisfactory or not of the dimensions. Faced with this challenge this paper, while theoretical essay aims to present an understanding of sustainability through the level of complexity of organizational decisions. To achieve this goal, it is proposed the relevant criteria that compose each dimension of sustainability, identifying the relationships (systemic) that may occur between the criteria for organizational decision making. As a result of crossing between levels of complexity of decisions and the dimensions of sustainability, a structure of a complex matrix of decisions was obtained to address sustainability. The qualitative matrix shows how the decision-maker or researcher may classify the decisions considered relevant and how he can make complex decisions that integrate satisfactorily the three dimensions of sustainability.

Keywords : Sustainability; Dimensions of sustainability; Dimensions of sustainability criteria; Levels of decisions; Organizations.

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