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Sustainability-as-flourishing: teaching for a sustainable future

Peter McGhee (Department of Management, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Patricia Grant (Kenvale College of Hospitality and Event Management, Randwick, Australia)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 29 July 2019



In a recent article, Schaefer et al. (2015) argue that cultivating appropriate beliefs and values, cultivating systems thinking and encouraging responsibility are the stages to be followed to achieve sustainability-as-flourishing from an organizational perspective. This analysis forms the basis for the development and discussion of a conceptual model to educate undergraduate business students at a New Zealand University into responsible leaders who strive to enact sustainability-as-flourishing in organizations.


This paper critiques current approaches to sustainability which often reflect a narrow understanding of human needs and do not demand necessary transformation in the way we interact with the world around us. It then provides an overview of sustainability-as-flourishing, and its various stages, with relevant examples from business. This is followed by a discussion of the conceptual model, the pedagogical philosophies underpinning it and the teaching methods required for shifting business students’ mindsets towards this end.


This is a conceptual paper that offers a new teaching model for sustainability-as-flourishing. The paper concludes with suggestions for sustainability educators in business.


To date, sustainability-as-flourishing is underdeveloped in the business literature. This conceptual paper unpacks this notion further. Additionally, it provides a model for business educators to teach sustainability-as-flourishing. While some of these ideas and features have been described in the literature previously, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time they have been brought as a coherent whole under this broader and unique approach of sustainability-as-flourishing.



McGhee, P. and Grant, P. (2019), "Sustainability-as-flourishing: teaching for a sustainable future", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 16 No. 7, pp. 1035-1052.



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