Professor Daniel Nyberg
Newcastle Business School (Management and Organisational Studies)
- Phone:(02) 49217923
From the politics of global warming to the economics of democracy, Professor Daniel Nyberg is seeking to understand how corporations responsibly – or not so responsibly – engage with society and the environment.
Professor Daniel Nyberg is tackling some of the most pressing and complicated problems in the world. Indeed, delving deep into the unknowns of everything from climate change and capitalism to the intricate relationship between industry and government is ‘business as usual’ for the business researcher, who takes an interdisciplinary approach to his studies on the activities of corporations.
“These are some of the biggest threats facing humankind,” he affirms.
“How could you not be interested?”
Under watchful eyes
Daniel’s research career began in 2005, when he undertook a PhD at the University of Melbourne. Largely considered an ethnography, the three-year probe sought to observe the different levels of control exercised by key personnel in call centres across Australia.
“Some years ago, most or all workplaces used to have supervisors who would stand over employees’ shoulders telling them what to do and what not to do,” he says.
“When their backs were turned, other staff could easily work a little bit slower or take a short rest break.”
“There is nowhere to hide or slack off in call centres, however, because supervisors are listening in to phone conversations and can see on their screens exactly what people are saying and doing every minute of every day.”
Also reflecting on the opportunities and challenges presented by the Digital Era in this “extreme scenario,” Daniel looked to understand the value and implications of control from multiple angles.
“Electronic video surveillance now means workers are observed around the clock – they don’t know when or where so they always have to behave,” he explains.
“Advancements in technology have similarly allowed us to get closer to our tools.”
“Those in call centres regularly work with their computers, for example, rather than towards them.”
“They wear headsets and often repeat exactly what is written on the monitor – there are no deviations.”
Shifting the onus
Daniel relocated to The Netherlands after receiving his award in 2008, signing on to pioneer further research on corporate control and responsibility at Radboud University. The Swedish native specifically focused on defining the “not-so-easily defined” during his stint abroad, leading a project on long-term sickness absence in the workplace.
“The goal was to identify how organisations deal with employees who are burnt out or stressed or ill due to their jobs,” he recalls.
“This work was on the back of new policies that were implemented right across the continent.”
Exploring a number of social welfare programs and policies throughout the enquiry, Daniel concedes his findings were a very “mixed bag.”
“Perhaps not so surprisingly, I discovered that a lot of countries in Europe manage long-term sickness absences through ‘activation,’” he reveals.
“Basically, this assumes that it is the responsibility of the individuals themselves to ensure they recover and return to work as quickly as possible.”
“It is my belief, however, that you need to be healthy in order to deal with an illness – if you are employed within an organisation and work makes you sick and it is your job to get better, there is limited room for you, the employee, to move, as you cannot change how your organisation operates.”
“So we can liberate people to take care of themselves but we also need to liberate them in the workplace.”
E is for eco-conscious
Daniel spent the next four years at the University of Sydney and then the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, turning his attention to corporate responses to climate change. He also published a book on it in September 2015.
“I wanted to know how businesses deal with this issue internally, such as through the design and delivery of green products and services, as well as how they deal with it in the industry, such as with carbon offsets, and how they deal with it in the public debate,” the bilinguist elaborates.
“It’s important to understand what corporations are doing in order to mitigate and/or minimise its effects.”
“We also need to have knowledge about what they’re doing so we can regulate their activities.”
Moving to the Hunter in April of last year to become a Professor of the University of Newcastle’s Business School, Daniel again looked to expand his research focus.
“I’m currently exploring how corporations influence democracy,” he states.
“The clearest example is the Labor Government’s super profit tax proposal of 2010, which the mining industry vehemently opposed.”
“Even though it spent $22 million doing so, calculations by the Australian Financial Review suggest it saved $10 billion by agreeing to a truce with then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard.”
“So, you can see it’s often much easier and cheaper for corporations to deal with public policies than it is for them to deal with their processes.”
Daniel Nyberg is Professor of Management at Newcastle Business School and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney. His research investigates how global and societal phenomena are translated into local organisational realities. He is currently pursuing this on projects relating to how corporations respond to climate change, the politics of ‘fracking’, and corporate political activities influencing public policy. He has led major research projects funded by the European Commission and the Australian Research Council, and published in international journals including: Organization Studies, Organization, Human Relations, Environment and Planning: A, British Journal of Sociology, and British Journal of Industrial Relation. Daniel has a forthcoming book later this year (with Professor Chris Wright at Sydney University): Climate change, capitalism and corporations: Processes of creative self-destruction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Research Expertise
My main research interest is investigating how organizations take part in negotiating and shaping how we, as individuals, organizations, and societies, respond to global or societal phenomena. I am pursuing this research interest on projects relating to how corporations respond to climate change, the politics of fracking, and corporate political activities influencing public policy. The empirical projects are based on public documents and interviews, mainly using a discursive approach. Central to my diverse range of research interests is displaying power relations within and between organizations, and engendering moral or ethical business practice.
- PhD, University of Melbourne
- Bachelor of Social Science, Stockholm University - Sweden
- Master of Human Resources Management, University of Western Australia
- Master of Social Science, Stockholm University - Sweden
- Climate change
- Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility
- Corporate Political Activities
- Foundations of Research
- Research Methods
- Swedish (Fluent)
Fields of Research
|350507||Workplace wellbeing and quality of working life||20|
|350709||Organisation and management theory||60|
|Title||Organisation / Department|
|Professor||University of Newcastle
Newcastle Business School
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Book (1 outputs)
Wright C, Nyberg BD, Climate change, capitalism and corporations: Processes of creative self-destruction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 254 (2015) [A1]
Chapter (8 outputs)
Wright C, Nyberg D, 'How organizations translate climate change into business as usual', World Scientific Encyclopedia Of Climate Change: Case Studies Of Climate Risk, Action, And Opportunity (In 3 Volumes) 179-186 (2021)
Policy responses to the growing climate crisis are based on the belief that markets and corporate innovation will be sufficient to provide solutions in rapidly decarbonizing the g... [more]
Policy responses to the growing climate crisis are based on the belief that markets and corporate innovation will be sufficient to provide solutions in rapidly decarbonizing the global economy. This view has been evident in proposals for ¿carbon pricing¿ (Stern, 2007), as well as among leading executives. For instance, business tycoon Richard Branson has proclaimed that, ¿our only option to stop climate change is for industry to make money from it¿ (Neubacher, 2012). So while businesses continue to be key contributors to escalating greenhouse gas emissions (Heede, 2014), they are also increasingly presented as offering innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions through technological innovations and improved eco-efficiency. But how much faith can we place in business to save us from climate change?.
Nyberg D, Wright C, Kirk J, 'Re-producing a neoliberal political regime: Competing justifications and dominance in disputing fracking', Justification, Evaluation and Critique in the Study of Organizations: Contributions from French Pragmatist Sociology, Emerald Publishing, Bingley, UK 143-171 (2017) [B1]
Wright C, Nyberg D, 'Engaging with the contradictions of capitalism: Teaching sustainability in the business school', The Routledge Companion to Reinventing Management Education 468-481 (2016)
We live in an era of environmental and social crisis. Humanity¿s inventiveness has over the past two centuries created unimaginable wealth for a small part of the world¿s populati... [more]
We live in an era of environmental and social crisis. Humanity¿s inventiveness has over the past two centuries created unimaginable wealth for a small part of the world¿s population; however, this has come at a huge environmental cost in terms of biodiversity loss, ocean acidification and climate change - degrading the very ecosystems upon which we depend as a species. In order to be relevant in the future, business schools need to play a central role in confronting this most critical of issues; however, much of what passes for ¿sustainability¿ education remains wedded to a defence of the system that has generated this crisis - free-market capitalism. Naïve best-case scenarios are promoted to justify continuous economic growth and consumption, albeit in a marginally less unsustainable fashion. In this chapter we argue that we are facing a far more profound sustainability challenge.
|2015||van Gestel N, Nyberg BD, Vossen E, 'Institutional logics and micro-processes in organizations: A multi-actor perspective on sickness absence management in three Dutch hospitals', Managing change: From health policy to practice, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire, UK 55-70 (2015) [B1]|
Nyberg D, Delaney H, 'Critical ethnographic research: Negotiations, influences, and interests', Critical Management Research: Reflections from the Field 63-80 (2014)
Grant D, Nyberg D, 'Business and the communication of climate change: An organisational discourse perspective', The Routledge Handbook of Language and Professional Communication 193-206 (2014)
|Show 5 more chapters|
Journal article (37 outputs)
Kirk J, Nyberg D, Wright C, 'Divided yet united: Balancing convergence and divergence in environmental movement mobilization', ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS, (2021)
Bowden V, Nyberg D, Wright C, '"We're Going Under": The Role of Local News Media in Dislocating Climate Change Adaptation', ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION-A JOURNAL OF NATURE AND CULTURE, 15 625-640 (2021)
Wright C, Nyberg D, Bowden V, 'Beyond the discourse of denial: The reproduction of fossil fuel hegemony in Australia', Energy Research and Social Science, 77 (2021)
Despite growing public concern over the worsening climate crisis, tangible action to reduce carbon emissions and limit fossil fuel use remains limited. This is particularly appare... [more]
Despite growing public concern over the worsening climate crisis, tangible action to reduce carbon emissions and limit fossil fuel use remains limited. This is particularly apparent in carbon-rich nations which promote the extraction, export and use of coal, oil and gas as key drivers of economic activity. We examine this contradiction between growing public demands for climate action and the continued dominance of fossil energy in Australia, now the world's largest exporter of coal and gas. Through a qualitative analysis of media coverage and industry public relations during the period 2008¿2019, we show how the fossil fuel hegemony has been maintained and extended in the face of growing social and political critique. We identify the key discourses that the Australian fossil fuel sector has employed in reproducing hegemony and delaying action on climate change. This extends previous theorisations of moral and intellectual leadership by detailing how the fossil fuel sector embeds particular technical claims into the climate change debate. Second, we expand knowledge of political strategy to show how corporate discourses aimed at maintaining hegemony are extended through the state as an ideological promoter.
Bowden V, Gond J-P, Nyberg D, Wright C, 'Turning Back the Rising Sea: Theory performativity in the shift from climate science to popular authority', ORGANIZATION STUDIES, (2021)
Bowden V, Nyberg D, Wright C, ' I don t think anybody really knows : Constructing reflexive ignorance in climate change adaptation', British Journal of Sociology, 72 397-411 (2021) [C1]
Responding to the existential threat of climate change is often seen as requiring greater reflexivity. Imbued with notions of resilience and reflection, reflexivity is assumed to ... [more]
Responding to the existential threat of climate change is often seen as requiring greater reflexivity. Imbued with notions of resilience and reflection, reflexivity is assumed to contribute to pro-environmental change. However, as the need to manage climate impacts becomes more immediate, political struggles over climate adaptation have become increasingly apparent. These impacts occur most often within local communities, in the context of competing economic interests and differing interpretations of climate science. Thus while it is increasingly difficult to deny climate change, conflicting priorities can lead to ignorance. In these circumstances, how communities build and share knowledge, and negotiate responses is central. Based on a study of a vulnerable region in Australia, we identify three processes through which the local community mobilized to disrupt local climate change adaptation. These included emphasizing uncertainty about the science of climate change, encouraging fear about property prices, and repositioning property owners as victims of climate adaptation policy. We argue that this response to climate adaptation constitutes the production of reflexive ignorance, which reinforces skepticism around scientific authority and defends particular economic interests.
Murray J, Nyberg D, 'Industry vs. Government: Leveraging Media Coverage in Corporate Political Activity', ORGANIZATION STUDIES, 42 1629-1650 (2020)
Bowden V, Nyberg D, Wright C, 'Truth and power: deliberation and emotions in climate adaptation processes', ENVIRONMENTAL POLITICS, 30 708-726 (2020)
Cinque S, Nyberg D, 'Theatre's radical potential: a study of critical performativity', CULTURE AND ORGANIZATION, 27 115-131 (2020) [C1]
Nyberg D, Murray J, 'Corporate Politics in the Public Sphere: Corporate Citizenspeak in a Mass Media Policy Contest', Business and Society, 59 579-611 (2020) [C1]
This article connects the previously isolated literatures on corporate citizenship and corporate political activity to explain how firms construct political influence in the publi... [more]
This article connects the previously isolated literatures on corporate citizenship and corporate political activity to explain how firms construct political influence in the public sphere. The public engagement of firms as political actors is explored empirically through a discursive analysis of a public debate between the mining industry and the Australian government over a proposed tax. The findings show how the mining industry acted as a corporate citizen concerned about the common good. This, in turn, legitimized corporate political activity, which undermined deliberation about the common good. The findings explain how the public sphere is refeudalized through corporate manipulation of deliberative processes via what we term corporate citizenspeak¿simultaneously speaking as corporate citizens and for individual citizens. Corporate citizenspeak illustrates the duplicitous engagement of firms as political actors, claiming political legitimacy while subverting deliberative norms. This contributes to the theoretical development of corporations as political actors by explaining how corporate interests are aggregated to represent the common good and how corporate political activity is employed to dominate the public sphere. This has important implications for understanding how corporations undermine democratic principles.
Cinque S, Nyberg D, Starkey K, ''Living at the border of poverty': How theater actors maintain their calling through narrative identity work', HUMAN RELATIONS, 74 1755-1780 (2020)
Nyberg D, Wright C, Kirk J, 'Fracking the Future: The Temporal Portability of Frames in Political Contests', Organization Studies, 41 175-196 (2020) [C1]
Despite scientific consensus on the need to rapidly decarbonize economic systems to limit global warming, the exploitation of fossil fuels continues unabated. This begs the questi... [more]
Despite scientific consensus on the need to rapidly decarbonize economic systems to limit global warming, the exploitation of fossil fuels continues unabated. This begs the question, why do we continue down this path? We argue that one reason is the way in which fossil fuel expansion is temporally framed. In this article, we examine the disputed development of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas (¿fracking¿) in the United Kingdom. Through analysis of a series of public inquiries conducted by the UK Government we show how industry, government and NGOs have engaged in a framing contest in debating the future of fracking. The findings show how the framing of fossil fuel development was solidified over time through processes of certainty, simplicity and familiarity. We contribute by: (a) showing how actors mobilize temporality in constructing persuasive and actionable frames; (b) developing a theory of how frames gain temporal portability ¿ a chronology between a dominant past and a recognized future; and (c) providing an alternative theory of short-termism in explaining the path leading us to a dangerous climate changed future.
Bowden V, Nyberg D, Wright C, 'Planning for the past: Local temporality and the construction of denial in climate change adaptation', Global Environmental Change, 57 1-9 (2019) [C1]
Nyberg D, De Cock C, 'Processes of domination in the contemporary workplace: Managing disputes in the Swedish healthcare sector', SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW, 67 689-705 (2019) [C1]
De Cock C, Nyberg D, Wright C, 'Disrupting climate change futures: Conceptual tools for lost histories', ORGANIZATION, 28 468-482 (2019) [C1]
Wright C, Nyberg D, Rickards L, Freund J, 'Organizing in the Anthropocene', Organization, 25 455-471 (2018) [C1]
The functioning of the biosphere and the Earth as a whole is being radically disrupted due to human activities, evident in climate change, toxic pollution and mass species extinct... [more]
The functioning of the biosphere and the Earth as a whole is being radically disrupted due to human activities, evident in climate change, toxic pollution and mass species extinction. Financialization and exponential growth in production, consumption and population now threaten our planet¿s life-support systems. These profound changes have led Earth System scientists to argue we have now entered a new geological epoch ¿ the Anthropocene. In this introductory article to the Special Issue, we first set out the origins of the Anthropocene and some of the key debates around this concept within the physical and social sciences. We then explore five key organizing narratives that inform current economic, technological, political and cultural understandings of the Anthropocene and link these to the contributions in this Special Issue. We argue that the Anthropocene is the crucial issue for organizational scholars to engage with in order to not only understand on-going anthropogenic problems but also help create alternative forms of organizing based on realistic Earth¿human relations.
Nyberg D, Wright C, Kirk J, 'Dash for Gas: Climate Change, Hegemony and the Scalar Politics of Fracking in the UK', British Journal of Management, 29 235-251 (2018) [C1]
This paper investigates the political contestation over hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, or ¿fracking¿, in the UK. Based on an analysis of four public inquiries, it shows how bo... [more]
This paper investigates the political contestation over hydraulic fracturing of shale gas, or ¿fracking¿, in the UK. Based on an analysis of four public inquiries, it shows how both proponents and opponents of fracking employed scaling to mobilize interests by connecting (or disconnecting) fracking to spatial and temporal scales. The analysis explains how a fossil fuel hegemony was reproduced by linking local and specific benefits to nationally or globally recognized interests such as employment, energy security and emission reductions. The paper contributes to recent debates on environmental political contestation by showing how scaling enables the linkage of competing interests by alternating between spatial (e.g. local vs. global) and temporal (e.g. short term vs. long term) horizons. The authors argue that scaling allows dominant actors to uphold contradictory positions on climate change, which contributes to explaining the current disastrous political climate impasse.
Wright C, Nyberg D, 'An Inconvenient Truth: How Organizations Translate Climate Change into Business As Usual', Academy of Management Journal, 60 1633-1661 (2017) [C1]
Gond J-P, Nyberg D, 'Materializing Power to Recover Corporate Social Responsibility', ORGANIZATION STUDIES, 38 1127-1148 (2017) [C1]
De Cock C, Nyberg, 'The possibility of critique under a financialized capitalism: The case of private equity in the United Kingdom', Organization, 23 465-484 (2016) [C1]
Murray J, Nyberg D, Rogers J, 'Corporate political activity through constituency stitching: Intertextually aligning a phantom community', Organization, 23 908-931 (2016) [C1]
Nyberg, Wright C, 'Performative and political: Corporate constructions of climate change risk', Organization, 23 617-638 (2016) [C1]
|Show 34 more journal articles|
Review (1 outputs)
Nyberg D, 'The Cultures of Markets: The Political Economy of Climate Governance', ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY (2017)
Conference (4 outputs)
Nyberg D, Wright C, 'Making climate change fit for capitalism: The corporate translation of climate adaptation', AOM 2019: Understanding the Inclusive Organization - 79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (2019)
Wright C, Nyberg D, 'Coral not coal: Enlisting the worlds of fame and celebrity in climate change politics', 78th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2018 (2018)
As the physical manifestations of anthropogenic climate disruption have become increasingly evident, so political contestation has increased over how best to respond. These contes... [more]
As the physical manifestations of anthropogenic climate disruption have become increasingly evident, so political contestation has increased over how best to respond. These contestations become particularly pronounced where extreme climate-related weather events provide a specific focus for political debate. In this paper we focus on the case of a specificlimate hotspot; Australia's Great Barrier Reef and recent, extreme coral bleaching events. Using the conceptual framework of Boltanski and Thevenot's (2006) economies of worth, we explore how appeals to fame and celebrity have proved central to the political dispute over how to respond to this climate disruption. Our paper contributes not only to debates over the celebritization of climate politics, but also to our understanding of the role of fame and celebrity as a source of political critique and justification.
Nyberg D, Wright C, Kirk J, 'Fracking the future: Temporality, framing and the politics of unconventional fossil fuels', 2017 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2017 (2017)
|Show 1 more conference|
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||5|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20211 grants / $21,969
Funding body: College of Human and Social Futures, University of Newcastle
|Funding body||College of Human and Social Futures, University of Newcastle|
Professor Daniel Nyberg, Christopher Wright
|Scheme||2021 College co-funding of external scheme|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20181 grants / $193,472
Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)
|Funding body||ARC (Australian Research Council)|
|Project Team||Professor Daniel Nyberg, Christopher Wright|
|Type Of Funding||C1200 - Aust Competitive - ARC|
20171 grants / $246,386
Hunter Water Research Secondment$246,386
Funding body: Hunter Water Corporation
|Funding body||Hunter Water Corporation|
|Project Team||Professor Daniel Nyberg, Darren Cleary|
|Type Of Funding||C2300 – Aust StateTerritoryLocal – Own Purpose|
20141 grants / $145,000
Climate change and risk: Exploring the corporate construction of climate change as risk in different industry settings$145,000
Funding body: European Commission, European Union
|Funding body||European Commission, European Union|
|Scheme||Marie Curie Career Integration Grant|
|Type Of Funding||External|
20111 grants / $190,000
Funding body: ARC (Australian Research Council)
|Funding body||ARC (Australian Research Council)|
|Type Of Funding||Aust Competitive - Commonwealth|
Number of supervisions
|Commenced||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2019||PhD||Justifying Action on Climate Change: A Qualitative Analysis of Australian Climate Movement Organisations Post Paris Agreement 2015||PhD (Management), College of Human and Social Futures, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|
|2015||PhD||Interactions of Managers and Employees when Facing various Bribery and Corruption Threats: An Empirical Analysis from the Oil and Gas Industry in Africa and the Middle East||PhD (Accounting & Finance), College of Human and Social Futures, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|Year||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2019||PhD||The Influences of CSR Practices on Employees' Perceptions of the Organisation||PhD (Management), College of Human and Social Futures, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|2017||PhD||Self discipline and identity work in theatre||Management & Commerce, Nottingham University||Principal Supervisor|
April 29, 2020
June 5, 2015
Professor Daniel Nyberg
Newcastle Business School
College of Human and Social Futures
Management and Organisational Studies
|Fax||(02) 4921 6911|