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Integrating sustainable development into operations management courses

Peter Fredriksson (Department of Operations Support, Skanska Sverige AB, Göteborg, Sweden)
Magnus Persson (Division of Operations Management, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 11 July 2011

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Abstract

Purpose

It is widely acknowledged that aspects of sustainable development (SD) should be integrated into higher level operations management (OM) education. The aim of the paper is to outline the experiences gained at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden from integrating aspects of SD into OM courses.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on the authors' experiences from teaching at Chalmers University of Technology, and the integration of SD into OM courses. The paper thus relies on an action research approach, similar in many ways to other papers in the field.

Findings

The paper outlines several similarities between the fields of SD and OM. Although the results show that several challenges must be overcome when integrating the fields in courses. The challenges – that are scrutinized through the use of existing literature – relate to the scope differences between the fields, lack of SD aspects in OM text books, and misfit between needs and teacher competence, support, and course structures.

Originality/value

The paper adds understanding by specifically addressing the integration of SD into OM courses. Universities and teachers within the field can consider the challenges outlined when integrating the two fields in courses.

Keywords

Citation

Fredriksson, P. and Persson, M. (2011), "Integrating sustainable development into operations management courses", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 236-249. https://doi.org/10.1108/14676371111148027

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited