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How mindfulness training cultivates introspection and competence development for sustainable consumption

Pascal Frank (Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Communication (INFU), Leuphana University of Lüneburg , Luneburg, Germany)
Anna Sundermann (Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Communication (INFU), Leuphana University of Lüneburg , Luneburg, Germany)
Daniel Fischer (Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Communication (INFU), Leuphana University of Lüneburg , Luneburg, Germany and School of Sustainability, Arizona State University , Tempe, Arizona, USA)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 8 August 2019

Issue publication date: 4 October 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the relationship between introspection and key competencies for sustainable consumption (KCSCs). It investigates whether mindfulness training can cultivate the ability to introspect and stimulate the development of KCSCs.

Design/methodology/approach

Two independent studies were analyzed. Data were retrieved from interviews with participants of a consumer-focused mindfulness training (Study 1, 11 participants), as well as from diaries of students attending a university seminar with mindfulness training (Study 2, 13 students), and made subject to qualitative content analysis.

Findings

Both studies show a clear intersection between both constructs and suggest that mindfulness training can contribute to the development of KCSCs and learners’ ability to introspect. The studies also demonstrated that introspection is not equally related to all competencies and that KCSCs must not be reduced to introspection.

Research limitations/implications

Both KCSCs and introspection are complex and latent constructs and hence challenging to observe. The research understands itself as a first exploratory approach for empirically investigating this complex relation.

Originality/value

While increasing (self-)reflectivity is at the core of competence-based education, a systematic engagement with the practice of introspection as a means to enhancing reflectivity is surprisingly lacking. Mindfulness training could be a promising way to cultivate introspective abilities and thus facilitate learning processes that are conducive to competence development.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Study 1 of the present work was funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) in the project BiNKA (Education for Sustainable Consumption through Mindfulness Training) under grants 01UT1416 and 01UT1416B.

Citation

Frank, P., Sundermann, A. and Fischer, D. (2019), "How mindfulness training cultivates introspection and competence development for sustainable consumption", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 1002-1021. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-12-2018-0239

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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