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Sustainable strategic planning in Italian higher education institutions: a content analysis

Chiara Fantauzzi (Department of Management and Law, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy)
Nathalie Colasanti (Department of Management and Law, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy)
Gloria Fiorani (Department of Management and Law, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy)
Rocco Frondizi (Department of Management and Law, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 10 June 2021

Issue publication date: 16 August 2021

588

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims, first of all, to analyze the extent to which Italian higher education institutions declare their mission statements in their official documents; then, to examine their content; and finally, to investigate whether mission statements include considerations on sustainability dimensions.

Design/methodology/approach

After a theoretical background on the new strategic approach adopted by higher education institutions and the related disclosure of their mission statements, the study deepens their sustainable perspective presenting the concepts of social engagement and knowledge transfer from a literary point of view. Then, a documentary analysis on the content of Italian universities’ official mission declarations will be conducted, to understand the role they play in society, by individuating their actual interest in sustainable dimensions.

Findings

Findings suggest that 36% of the 98 Italian universities state their engagement in societal issues, but only 3 of them mention sustainability targets in their mission declarations.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited, exclusively based on what higher education institutions share and, in terms of future perspective, the aim can be to investigate further official documents, especially for what concerns sustainability reports.

Practical implications

Practical implications regard the denounce of weak attention paid by Italian universities to sustainability, with the aim to foster them to increase connections with the external world, aware of the centrality of their role within society.

Originality/value

In a context that is not yet completely investigated, the originality of the paper regards the intent to study the sustainable propensity that characterizes the Italian higher education system.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Declaration of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Citation

Fantauzzi, C., Colasanti, N., Fiorani, G. and Frondizi, R. (2021), "Sustainable strategic planning in Italian higher education institutions: a content analysis", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 1145-1165. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-07-2020-0275

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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