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Exploring environmental sustainability of academia as a working space

Kostas Stavrianakis (Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland)
William Ramos (Department of Health and Wellness Design, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 22 October 2021

Issue publication date: 10 May 2022




This study aims to examine the organizational citizenship behaviors toward the environment among US-based faculty members, in social sciences, natural sciences, the humanities and engineering. Potential barriers that may stop academia from being more sustainable are examined but also the opportunities for academics to be involved in environmental sustainability are explored.


The authors followed a sequential explanatory mixed methods approach using online surveys (n = 633) followed by open-ended phone interviews (n = 28).


Results suggest that there are certain power dynamics that force young faculty members in anti-environmental behaviors, although they are cognizant of the negative impacts on the environment. Many faculty members engage in environmental-related actions outside their service requirements, but this is mostly the case for tenured faculty members.


The originality of this study lies in the fact that it explores environmental behaviors from an academic ranking perspective and expands on pertinent barriers to promote sustainable behaviors in academia.



The authors would like to thank all the participants that provided their valuable time and experiences to this study, as well as the reviewers that strengthened this paper with their suggestions and recommendations.


Stavrianakis, K. and Ramos, W. (2022), "Exploring environmental sustainability of academia as a working space", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp. 1107-1124.



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