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Perspectives of the administration of Greek universities regarding the adoption of sustainability practices

Vasiliki Platitsa (Department of Economics and Sustainable Development, Harokopio University of Athens, Athens, Greece)
Eleni Sardianou (Department of Economics and Sustainable Development, Harokopio University of Athens, Athens, Greece)
Konstantinos Abeliotis (Department of Economics and Sustainable Development, Harokopio University of Athens, Athens, Greece)
Roido Mitoula (Department of Economics and Sustainable Development, Harokopio University of Athens, Athens, Greece)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 19 February 2024

Issue publication date: 3 June 2024

91

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to the perceptions of the administration of Greek universities on sustainable development and the role of the administration in the implementation of corresponding practices. Specifically, it examines management’s perception and contribution to sustainable development and assesses the sustainability initiatives taking place in universities and the factors that influence their implementation. The obstacles and motivations in the implementation of these actions are also investigated.

Design/methodology/approach

For the empirical analysis, a survey was conducted during the period March–June 2022, addressing questionnaires to 12 rectors or vice rectors dealing with the sustainability of the respective 12 Greek universities. Secondary data about their sustainability practices were also collected from the institutions’ official Web pages.

Findings

The results show that management’s perception of sustainable development mainly concerns the conservation of resources for future generations and the balancing of the economy. Moreover, the findings indicate that universities play a significant role in achieving sustainability by contributing to the educational process, conducting research and serving as a model of sustainability for both the educational community and society as a whole. Financial and institutional barriers are characterized as the most important obstacles for adopting sustainability practices. The most popular motives to promote sustainability issues are financial support of universities, in addition to the governmental support of the leadership and, in particular, of the rectorate authorities.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first conducted among the Greek universities that focuses on administration’s viewpoint and contributes to the international dialogue on the implementation of sustainability by higher education institutions. The results provide preliminary evidence of top management responses to endorse sustainability activities at the higher education institutes in the broader area of Eastern Europe.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their very useful and constructive comments. The authors also wish to warmly thank all the rectors and vice rectors who participated in the survey by completing its questionnaire. All errors and deficiencies are the responsibility of the authors.

Citation

Platitsa, V., Sardianou, E., Abeliotis, K. and Mitoula, R. (2024), "Perspectives of the administration of Greek universities regarding the adoption of sustainability practices", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 1103-1118. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-09-2023-0417

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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