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Deborah de Lange - Ted Rogers School of Management. Toronto, ON, CA

Deborah de Lange Deborah de Lange

Associate Professor, Global Management Studies | Ted Rogers School of Management

Toronto, ON, CANADA

Researches the intersection of strategic organizational and international entrepreneurship theory in a clean technology context.



Deborah de Lange Publication Deborah de Lange Publication Deborah de Lange Publication




Generation of Leaders Conference - Deborah de Lange



Dr. Deborah de Lange is happy to take on new projects and speak to the media on topics related to her research. Her research is focused on sustainable development including climate change mitigation. Research topics include: sustainable high tech strategy, clean tech entrepreneurship including clean energy and transportation, responsible governance (corporate, international organizations, and urban governance including public-private partnerships), international relations including international trade, the circular economy, responsible investment and divestment, and business related environmental issues focused on climate change. She also advises tech startups based on her technology, strategy and finance backgrounds. She has written three books that can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-E.-De-Lange/e/B004206YYA. Her book, Cliques and Capitalism: A Modern Networked Theory of the Firm, has been recognized with an Academy of Management book award.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Urban Governance Clean Technology International Business & Organization Corporate Governance & Strategy Sustainable Development High Tech Strategy Entrepreneurship


Accomplishments (1)

Academy of Management Book Award (professional)

For her book, Cliques and Capitalism: A Modern Networked Theory of the Firm.

Education (3)

University of Toronto: Ph.D., Strategic Management

Queens University: M.B.A., Science and Technology

University of Toronto: B.A.Sc., Electrical and Electronics Engineering

Affiliations (9)

  • Principles for Responsible Management Education, North American Steering Committee: Vice-Chair and Member
  • Academy of Management, Public and Non-Profit Division: Executive Committee Member
  • Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA): Member
  • Academy of Management, Organizations and Natural Environment Division: Teaching Team Member
  • Digital Media Zone, Ryerson University: Business Stratedy Advisor
  • Centre for Urban Energy, Ryerson University: Business Strategy Advisor
  • Fashion Zone, Ryerson University: Business Strategy Advisor
  • GMS RFA, Ryerson University: Council Representative
  • Writer's Union of Canada: Member

Selected Media Appearances (3)

Why Canadian pension plans must divest of fossil fuel investments

National Post  online


Author: Deborah de Lange, Assistant Professor, Global Management Studies, Ryerson University

Combatting climate change hinges on divestment of fossil fuels across all spheres of activity. According to scientists, we are facing an impending disaster if we do not stop burning fossil fuels. [...]

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Canada has the opportunity to be a climate leader in Bonn

National Post  online


Author: Deborah de Lange, Assistant Professor, Global Management Studies, Ryerson University

With the United States planning to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, European nations such as France and the Netherlands are likely to fill the leadership vacuum at the United Nations’ climate change conference kicking off in Bonn, Germany, this week. [...]

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50 Canadian climate researchers speak out in support of the People's Climate March

The Guardian  online


The Canadian government is hell-bent on exploiting the Alberta tar sands to the fullest extent possible, even at the expense of the global climate. Canada simply cannot meet its carbon pollution reduction pledges if it continues to expand tar sands operations. [...]

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Selected Articles (5)

Increasing sustainable tourism through social entrepreneurship International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

Deborah de Lange, Rachel Dodds


The purpose of this paper is to explore the link between social entrepreneurship and sustainable tourism and to examine the Canadian context in this regard.

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Start-up sustainability: An insurmountable cost or a life-giving investment? Journal of Cleaner Production

Deborah E.de Lange, Ph.D.


An outstanding question in the entrepreneurship literature reigns, given recent emphases on sustainable business practices and corporate social responsibility. If small start-ups are generally stretched for time and resources, does it enhance their chances for survival and success to be sustainable and socially responsible? New firms can aid in rectifying pressing environmental and social issues by being more sustainable. While many entrepreneurs like a sustainable business model and/or mission, investment may not follow so willingly. This paper examines a sample of 300 start-ups across thirty cities around the world to consider whether sustainability is rewarded by investors. Investors signal confidence in start-ups when they infuse life extending investments into them. This analysis also considers whether a more sustainable national context affects investor confidence and whether a sustainable firm within a sustainable national context gains more investor attention and investment. Results show that investors avoid sustainable firms, particularly those that are environmentally sustainable. Moreover, investors enjoy national contexts that are socially responsible, but pay no attention to those that are environmentally conscious. In addition, firms that are sustainable in a sustainable national context are not better off for attracting investment. Insights for policy are that mainstream investors are attracted by national social policies, but these investors are unlikely to be the main force behind sustainable venture growth under today’s conditions.

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A social capital paradox: Entrepreneurial dynamism in a small world clean technology cluster Journal of Cleaner Production

Deborah E.de Lange


Clean tech entrepreneurs have struggled to gain investor confidence because of some particular characteristics and circumstances of the industry. This research combines network and sustainable development literature in the clean tech context to support the logic of a new investment approach that may stimulate sustainable investing in clean tech. Theory is proposed to suggest that there may be an advantageous social capital paradox where strong ties in a cluster lead to dynamism rather than decay. The clean tech industry provides a context where strong ties offer network stability in a small world cluster such that it is a value-creating organizational form offering greater dynamism. Two related propositions are developed to support the social capital paradox. They lead to a theoretical conclusion that long term integrated partner solutions where partners are also resource constrained lead to successful alliances supporting a dynamic cluster that will grow over time. A practical conclusion is that investing in a connected cluster of firms might be less risky compared to investing in a new firm or even a portfolio of well diversified assets. De-risking clean production investments may be achievable through a small world network cluster-backed security.

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Legitimation Strategies for Clean Technology Entrepreneurs Facing Institutional Voids in Emerging Economies Journal of International Management

Deborah E.de Lange


This research develops theory on the legitimation of firms in the context of new entrepreneurial clean technology ventures attempting to grow and develop in emerging economies where they face institutional voids. Where there are conditions of inadequate or non-existent energy infrastructure, this is often a symptom of a lack of market oriented institutions or institutional voids. This research clarifies how organizational fields, potentially supportive of new industries, form through local entrepreneurs' efforts at legitimating their start-ups. It proposes that organizational fields can substitute for the institutional voids so that the new firms can develop. Legitimation strategies that foster the supportive organizational fields include endorsements from notable local individuals such as an iconic local entrepreneur or a community leader, and by broader acknowledgement, gained through well recognized non-market partnerships and validation by exporting to wealthy markets.

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From Foe to Friend: Complex Mutual Adaptation of Multinational Corporations and Nongovernmental Organization Business & Society

Deborah E. de Lange, Daniel Armanios, Javier Delgado-Ceballos, Sukhbir Sandhu


The relationship between multinational corporations (MNCs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on social and environmental issues sometimes evolves from being antagonistic to cooperative. To explore how MNCs and NGOs are able to cooperate as friends rather than remain foes, this conceptual research drawing on complexity theory examines a proposed process of mutual adaptation occurring through more flexible semi-structures that support the evolution of (a) joint strategic responses enabled by future gazing, (b) communication systems that facilitate joint strategic responses, and (c) coordinated, timed-based change that supports joint strategic responses. The article provides illustrations from MNC–NGO collaborations. Conclusions are that mutual adaptation and cooperative resolutions are more likely when organizations either share these capabilities or compensate for each other’s shortcomings, and make trade-offs that align with joint strategic objectives. This article contributes to complexity theory and the NGO–MNC literature by exploring how interorganizational cooperative behavior incorporates mutual adaptation so that more sustainable practices are implemented and continuously improved upon by MNCs.

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