Thomas Melde, Universität Duisburg-Essen

    About Thomas

    Thomas studied Political Science, International Law and Sociology in Leipzig an Paris. After he had worked at BMW Group in the department for Corporate and Governmental Affairs, he joined akzente, a consultancy for CR Management and Sustainability Communication in Munich. There he has been serving as Managing Director since 2010.



    PhD project

    Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. Organization, Management and Self-Steering in the World Society


    World-society has brought itself into a precarious position, from where “sustainable development” appears to be the sole viable path for further social evolution. At the same time it is increasingly ambivalent. There seem to be no more “right answers”. Ambiguity and insecure knowledge on the one side, and differentiation and fragmentation on the other account for an ample pessimism about the chance of achieving “more sustainability”. The apparently conditioned reflex of society towards this incertitude and complexity is the moral claim for (corporate) responsibility. Based on this observation the thesis asks how CR – under conditions of high contingency – helps stabilizing a sustainable order in the world-society. It argues that a global morality constitutes a non-resolvable paradox but brings forth derivates of legitimacy and integration. The dissertation analyzes CR as one such functional equivalent and uses it to illustrate how modernity develops new capacities of dealing with self-generated risks. It concludes that world-society shifts from a normative to a cognitive mode of anticipation and hence originates an emergent form of sustainable rationality, whose integrative effect is not a morally pre-defined result but a procedural modus vivendi.




    Prof. Dr. Renate Martinsen

    Prof. Dr. Ludger Heidbrink


    Publications and conferences



    Integration durch Innovation. Ein systemtheoretischer Blick auf Nachhaltigkeit und Corporate Responsibility in der Weltgesellschaft. In: Dritter Runder Tisch Bayern: Sozial- und Umweltstandards bei Unternehmen (forthcoming)
    Public-Private Partnerships im System der Vereinten Nationen. Eine menschenrechtliche Perspektive. (with Renate Martinsen) In: Die Friedens-Warte. Journal of International Peace and Organization 2006 (81/1), S. 163-178



    thomas.melde  [at] doctoral-academy [dot] net