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Educating for sustainability and CSR: What is the role of business schools?

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Product Description

Edited by:

Suzanne Benn and Robin Kramar

University of Technology, Sydney and Australian Catholic University, North Sydney, NSW, Australia

Overview

The aim of this special issue of Journal of Management & Organization  is to explore the role of business schools and institutions of higher education in fostering the individual and organisational capabilities necessary for change for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. Growing awareness in organisations and governments about the need to develop leadership and management skills for sustainability was recognised by the United Nations when it declared a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (Decade) (2005–2014). The aim of this Decade was to promote a better understanding of the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social and economic sustainability.

At the same time, marked by the emergence of inter-governmental and business networks such as the Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, increasing attention was being paid to the responsibilities of business and corporations. The term CSR has been used to refer to the broad range of responsibilities that business has towards its many stakeholders. These stakeholders include shareholders, as well as customers, employees, local communities, governments, future generations and the environment. The nature of CSR and the extent of business’s responsibilities are topics for substantial debate.

Despite the recent financial crisis, there is evidence that many senior managers continue to perceive good governance, CSR and corporate sustainability as fundamental to the long-term successful operations of any organization. In the recent 13th Annual Global CEO survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example, more CEOs raised climate change investment during the crisis than reduced it and more than two-thirds thought such strategies would confer reputational advantages. And according to an Accenture Report for the 2010 UN Global Compact, 93% of 766 CEOs of global companies surveyed in 2010 believed that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their organisations and 96% believed that sustainability issues should be fully integrated into strategy and operations (Accenture, 2010). Similarly, research conducted by Boston Consulting Group (2009) involving a global survey of 1500 executives and 50 interviews reported a strong consensus that sustainability is having a material impact on how companies behave and plan to behave. In other words, the topics of sustainability and CSR are now at the forefront of business strategising for the future.   

Students in business and management schools are the managers of the future. They will need knowledge and skills to enable them to navigate the arguments about the corporate responsibilities and to stimulate further change for sustainability. Clearly, specific knowledge needs to be built within our business schools around carbon management, for example. But bridges also need to be built across our disciplinary areas if we are to address the challenges that many scientists now argue are threatening the survival of the planet. Education for sustainable management represents a broad, holistic approach which encompasses the three areas of environmental, financial and human/ social sustainability (Springett, 2005). It is also very concerned with the development of capabilities for change, such as critical reflection and inquiry and the exploration and management of complexity.
This issue of the Journal of Management & Organization includes seven articles drawn from a number of countries. This is a truly global issue. The manuscripts indicate the diversity of approaches to education for sustainable management in different regions and countries. It also deals with a variety of approaches that can be taken for framing education for sustainable management and some issues associated with developing this education within a business and management school.  

The issue provides a rich source of data which demonstrates that attempts to further education for sustainable management are widespread. This issue also indicates that a variety of theoretical perspectives can be adopted to framing this form of education. These approaches include the institutional-comparative perspective, resource dependence, innovation and stakeholder theory and business ethics frameworks. The articles span Europe, North America and Australasia.  This special issue demonstrates the diversity of the initiatives and approaches designed to further the capabilities of business students to make decisions around sustainability. Despite the growing acknowledgement of the need for more responsible corporate behaviour, the various contributions also serve to highlight the factors which persistently limit the expansion and integration of education for sustainable management.

Table of Contents

Editorial: Introduction and Interviews – Suzanne Benn and Robin Kramar

Corporate social responsibility and sustainability education: A trans-Atlantic
comparison – Jeremy Moon and Marc Orlitzky

Corporate social responsibility in management education: Current status in Spanish
universities – Dolors Setó-Pamies, Misericordia Domingo-Vernis and
Noemí Rabassa-Figueras

Integration of sustainable development in higher education’s curricula of applied
economics: Large-scale assessments, integration strategies and barriers – Kim Ceulemans,
Marijke De Prins, Valérie Cappuyns and Wouter De Coninck

Business ethics, CSR, sustainability and the MBA – Norman S Wright and
Hadyn Bennett

The technological community as a framework for educating for sustainability in business
schools – Suzanne Benn and Cathy Rusinko

Sustainability in the undergraduate and postgraduate business curriculum of a regional
university: A critical perspective – Tania von der Heidt and Geoff Lamberton

Human flourishing as a foundation for a new sustainability oriented business school
curriculum: Open questions and possible answers – Bernard McKenna and Roberto
Biloslavo

BOOK REVIEW

The sustainable MBA: The manager’s guide to green business – Giselle Weybrecht
– Kate Kearins


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