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Determining factors of environmental education in Spanish universities

Manuel Larrán (Department of Economics and Accountancy, University of Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain)
Javier Andrades (Department of Economics and Accountancy, University of Cadiz, Cadiz, Spain)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to analyze the main factors that might determine the extent to which Spanish organizational management educators use environmental stand-alone subjects to equip students with alternative views of business. To give a more qualitative study, this paper also provides a more detailed curriculum analysis from a double point of view: first, the authors analyze the environmental integration in curricula by means of the presence of environmental embedded subjects. On the other hand, the authors analyze the main environmental topics covered by curriculum of Spanish universities.

Design/methodology/approach

A Web content analysis and non-parametric mean comparison statistics of the curricula of undergraduate degrees at all universities in Spain was conducted.

Findings

One of the main conclusions of this paper is that public universities in Spain are more likely to require an environmental course than private universities. Other factors, such as size, political orientation or chairs/research institutes are not statistically explanatory of environmental education. Another important finding is that environmental training in management courses offered by Spanish universities is still relatively underdeveloped. Comparatively, the authors found that the most common method of teaching environmental issues in Spain is by means of embedded subjects (horizontal integration) in comparison with stand-alone subjects (vertical integration) as a response of the necessity of providing a systemic and holistic approach toward environmental aspects. From this perspective, the main topics covered in curriculum are environmental management, sustainable tourism, environmental economy or environmental impact.

Originality/value

There is a lack of empirical research focuses on analyzing determinant factors to environmental education in management undergraduate curricula of Spanish universities. Indeed, most of previous studies provide a descriptive review of environmental courses in management education.

Keywords

Citation

Larrán, M. and Andrades, J. (2015), "Determining factors of environmental education in Spanish universities", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 251-271. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-01-2013-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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