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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2018

Jan Seidel, Anna Sundermann, Steven A. Brieger, Pepe Strathoff, Gabriel H. Jacob, Tony Antonio and Christina W. Utami

This paper aims to develop and empirically test a framework on how personal values and sustainability conceptions affect students’ sustainability management orientation…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to develop and empirically test a framework on how personal values and sustainability conceptions affect students’ sustainability management orientation (SMO). An understanding of this connection gives insight into the question whether students are likely to engage in sustainable business practices in their future work.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional and comparative research design is used, using survey data of business students from Germany, Indonesia and the USA (N = 475). The proposed mediation models are tested by bootstrap procedures using Hayes’s (2013) PROCESS macro for SPSS.

Findings

Self-transcendence values translate into more nuanced sustainability conceptions since individuals with self-transcendence values are more likely to conceptualize sustainability beyond their own (narrow) self-interests. In turn, the stronger individuals’ sustainability conceptions, the higher the likelihood that they prefer sustainable management practices in their future professional working field.

Research limitations/implications

Implications arise for researchers to investigate the engagement of future managers with different personal value types in sustainability practices and to gain insights into values and sustainability conceptions as a learning outcome. Limitations of this research – for instance, arising from potential common method bias – are discussed.

Practical implications

The findings point to the need to (re-)design appointment processes for management positions in a way that allows taking into account individuals’ personal values and sustainability conceptions. This research may also help firms and higher education institutions to empower their workforce/students to develop more integrated perspectives on sustainability challenges as well as teaching methods that address students’ effective learning outcomes, e.g. their values.

Originality/value

The paper offers a new framework and a cross-country perspective on psychological antecedents of individuals’ SMO as an important prerequisite for responsible behavior in the business context.

Details

Journal of Global Responsibility, vol. 9 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2041-2568

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Article
Publication date: 2 May 2017

Chi-I Lin and Yuh-Yuh Li

The purpose of this paper is to investigate students’ understandings of ocean sustainability and the pedagogical influence of higher education on those conceptions.

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1205

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate students’ understandings of ocean sustainability and the pedagogical influence of higher education on those conceptions.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptions of ocean sustainability of 54 university students of various academic disciplines enrolled in the 2014/2015 semester course “Sustainable Oceans” were assessed through use of auto-photography. Data were collected at the beginning and end of the course. Inter-rater reliability was measured by percentage of identical coding outcomes by two coders.

Findings

Auto-photography is effective in assessing notions of sustainability. Social and economic dimensions were captured less frequently than environmental aspects in the students’ photographs. Overall, students demonstrated vague perceptual awareness about who should take responsibility concerning lifeworld-related issues. Also, their perceptions were affected by their choice of academic discipline. Engaging students in inter-/transdisciplinary learning, integrating the arts, science and community, helped develop a more balanced, action-motivated conception of sustainability. Post-test patterns of change in students’ vision and action were observed.

Practical implications

Implementing sustainability education in a university’s coordinating bodies is effective in constructing a campus-based learning network, and participation in local community empowerment promotes a substantial and multidimensional concept of sustainability, and teaching material that includes content from the fine arts, literature or music stimulates students’ awareness of, and sensitivity to, lifeworld issues.

Originality/value

This paper provides an innovative, auto-photography-based methodology, including an operational procedure, coding book and method of analysis, for assessing students’ conceptions of sustainability. It also develops an interdisciplinary course that serves a “threshold” intervention role in ocean sustainability education.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2018

Niina Väänänen, Leena Vartiainen, Minna Kaipainen, Harri Pitkäniemi and Sinikka Pöllänen

This study aims to explore student craft teachers’ conceptions of sustainable craft. This is an important issue because the Finnish National Curriculum of Basic Education…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore student craft teachers’ conceptions of sustainable craft. This is an important issue because the Finnish National Curriculum of Basic Education emphasises sustainability, especially in craft education, and teachers play a vital role in preparing pupils to meet the future challenges. Because the concept of sustainable craft is open-ended, there is a need to rethink pedagogy in craft education and higher education.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected in the form of essays from future craft teachers (N41) studying craft science in the Finnish higher education system. The essays concerned both general conceptions of sustainable craft and reflections on the student teachers’ craft practices. The data were analysed using grounded theory to gain a deep understanding of how student craft teachers conceptualise sustainable craft. The data were quantified and statistically assessed for dependencies between variables and transferability of results.

Findings

The study revealed that sustainable craft is conceptualised as a system and that student teachers approach sustainability from different orientations: practice, product, immaterial and holistic.

Originality/value

The emerging theory offers a new concrete tool for understanding the abstract concept of sustainability in higher education and suggests that sustainability can be addressed through tangible methods of craft. This theory proposes craft as a tool to conceptualise of sustainability for broader use in education for sustainability (ESD) and as a concrete tool for developing pedagogy for ESD.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 19 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

P. Brian Fisher and Erin McAdams

This paper aims to examine how both the amount and type of coursework impact students’ conceptualizations of sustainability. Previous research demonstrates that academic…

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3806

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine how both the amount and type of coursework impact students’ conceptualizations of sustainability. Previous research demonstrates that academic coursework influences students’ environmental attitudes, yet few studies have examined the impact of coursework on how students conceptualize “sustainability”.

Design/methodology/approach

Data are examined from the 2011 Sustainability Survey, which yielded a sample of 552 students at a medium-sized university in the southeastern USA. A series of four linear regression models estimate the impact of academic coursework on students’ conceptualizations of sustainability (ecosystems/nature, eco-efficiency, community/well-being and systemic change/innovation).

Findings

The results indicate that the type of course that students take significantly impacts the way in which students conceptualize this term; the number of courses taken has no statistically significant impact. This suggests that mere exposure to a particular theme in a class, rather than continued exposure to courses related to sustainability, is more important in shaping students’ perceptions.

Originality/value

This study expands on previous research by examining the influence of the number and type of academic coursework on students’ conceptions of sustainability and provides a framework for understanding the varied ways in which sustainability is defined. This has important implications for how students approach ways to achieve a sustainable future. The results suggest that students may be exposed to particular messages within an academic division that encourage students to emphasize particular elements of sustainability. While not problematic on its face, the data demonstrate that students lack an integrated or holistic understanding of sustainability. They usually view sustainability through the same prism as the academic division where their coursework was located, and this has implications for students’ continued perceptions of sustainability, academic programming of sustainability and the practice of it.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1999

Werner Hediger

A conceptual and analytical approach is presented to reconcile weak and strong sustainability. It involves a reconsideration of the conception of total capital from an…

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6424

Abstract

A conceptual and analytical approach is presented to reconcile weak and strong sustainability. It involves a reconsideration of the conception of total capital from an ecological‐economic system perspective. In particular, natural capital is classified into non‐renewable resources, renewable resources that are harvested, and those that are not used in production. Strong sustainability is defined in terms of constant environmental quality. Weak sustainability is characterised by non‐decreasing value of aggregate income and environmental quality, and formalised in terms of a “preference‐based social value function”. Ecosystem resilience and basic human needs are introduced as minimum sustainability requirements, and a “sustainability‐based social value function” is proposed, which is sensitive to potentially irreversible changes at the boundaries of the restricted opportunity space. It implies higher values associated to the trade‐offs between income and the environment than the preference‐based function, and the fact that sustainable development is only feasible if both minimum criteria are fulfilled.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 26 no. 7/8/9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part
Publication date: 28 January 2022

Sherman Indhul

The shift to the fourth industrial revolution presents new sustainable development challenges. The externalities of the second and third industrial revolutions were…

Abstract

The shift to the fourth industrial revolution presents new sustainable development challenges. The externalities of the second and third industrial revolutions were related to the degradation of the biosphere. It is suggested that the externalities of the fourth industrial revolution, underpinned by artificial intelligence, are extending the repertoire of externalities to include the degradation and manipulation of cognition and by extension the fabric of society. The implications for South Africa’s transformation within the fourth industrial revolution are highlighted. It is shown that digital nudging and choice architecture are tools that are capable of maximising profit while externalising social value through the algorithmic manipulation of our decision-making processes. The case for an alternative explanatory framework is presented because the limitations of the prevailing conception of physical reality appear unable to adequately resolve these super-wicked problems. Constructor theory is introduced as an alternative explanatory framework, and the constructor-theoretic conception is suggested as an ontological framework that will provide better explanations. Some principles of the theory are introduced.

Details

Transcendent Development: The Ethics of Universal Dignity
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80262-260-7

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Sabine U. O’Hara

Economists have generally framed the question of welfare in terms of wealth creation and distribution. More recently this conception of welfare has been challenged by…

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19226

Abstract

Economists have generally framed the question of welfare in terms of wealth creation and distribution. More recently this conception of welfare has been challenged by concerns for the unsustainability of expanding material wealth. Sustainability thus requires the expansions of welfare considerations to include the limits posed by the biophysical world within which all economic activity takes place. This paper pursues the question how the concept of ethics generally accepted and operative in mainline economics influences our understanding of sustainability. The question pursued is whether this concept of ethics can lead to sustainability or whether other ethical concepts are necessary to achieve a more compatible relationship between economic activity and sustainability? To pursue this question three ethical concepts are discussed: utilitarian ethic, discursive ethic, and the ethic of care. In each case the question is raised whether the ethical concept under consideration contributes to or undermines sustainability. The conclusion reached in this paper is that a utilitarian ethic leads to a perception of the links between economic activity and environmental context which is not likely to yield sustainable outcomes beyond an economically defined notion of sustainability. Discursive ethic and ethic of care have important contributions to make to redefining concept and implementation of broader sustainability goals.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 25 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2016

Christian Busse, Martin C. Schleper, Menglei Niu and Stephan M. Wagner

The purpose of this paper is to explore contextual barriers to supplier development for sustainability (SDS) in global supply chains and managerial remedies to mitigate…

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11046

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore contextual barriers to supplier development for sustainability (SDS) in global supply chains and managerial remedies to mitigate such barriers.

Design/methodology/approach

A dyadic case study design was adopted with a Western European buyer and six of its Chinese suppliers. The database consists of 41 interviews and 81 documents.

Findings

Contextual barriers to SDS in global supply chains derive from complexities in the sustainability concept, socio-economic differences, spatial and linguistic distance, as well as cultural differences between buyers and suppliers. Partial remedies include effective joint communications, an open organizational culture, and the fostering of cross-contextual understanding.

Research limitations/implications

The findings contribute to theory development at the intersection of sustainable and global supply chain management research. They help to explain why scarce sustainability-related progress in global supply chains has occurred in recent years.

Practical implications

The identified barriers facilitate managerial decision making that will expedite SDS progress in global contexts.

Social implications

By diffusing knowledge regarding available remedies, the study contributes to improving SDS effectiveness, thereby fostering sustainability capabilities and performance of suppliers.

Originality/value

This research highlights the criticality of contextual barriers to SDS. The barrier effects that stem from differing real-world conceptions of sustainability may inform future sustainable supply chain management research within and beyond SDS.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 46 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 25 July 2019

Gisela Cebrián, David Pascual and Álvaro Moraleda

This paper aims to present the results from a questionnaire distributed to a group of Spanish postgraduate teacher students pursuing a Master’s Degree in Secondary School…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present the results from a questionnaire distributed to a group of Spanish postgraduate teacher students pursuing a Master’s Degree in Secondary School Education. The aims of the administered questionnaire were to identify students’ perceptions of the development of sustainability competencies; to analyse the relationship between students’ perceived level of competence and the subject area, previous teaching experience and previous participation in sustainability projects; and to explore the strengths and limitations of the assessment tool used.

Design/methodology/approach

An ad hoc questionnaire of 18 items was designed to analyse students’ self-conception of the development of four sustainability competencies. A set of six units of competence were identified and three levels of acquisition for each unit Knowledge (referred to conceptual learning), Knowhow (related to practical skills) and Do (linked to the demonstration in action and its transferability to real-life situations). The sample included 183 postgraduate secondary teacher students from different disciplines and subject areas.

Findings

The findings of this study show that students positioned themselves for the four sustainability competencies in a medium level of competence. No statistical significant differences exist between the subject areas and the level of sustainability competence. A statistically significant difference was found between previous teaching experience and participation in sustainability projects in relation to their perceived level of sustainability competencies. Participation in sustainability projects is clearly shown as a differentiating factor in the levels of sustainability competencies.

Originality/value

An empirical study has been conducted to investigate preservice teachers’ perceptions on the self-development of four sustainability competencies, considering three levels of acquisition (Know, Knowhow and Do). This study provides insights into ESD teaching and learning approaches and the assessment of Education for Sustainable Development outcomes. It also points out the importance of conceptualising sustainability competencies and operationalising these competencies in assessment tools that can help measure sustainability competencies’ development.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 9 March 2021

Ann Marie Sidhu and Jane Gibbon

The purpose of this study is to examine how accounting for sustainable development (SD) in Malaysian organisations decouples economic growth from ecological consequences…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine how accounting for sustainable development (SD) in Malaysian organisations decouples economic growth from ecological consequences. The research analyses the empirical evidence of organisational responses and actions that purport to support SD in a developing country.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a discursive model of institutional theory to examine the relationship between texts, discourse and action within Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) organisations. This study uses both qualitative content and interpretive textual analysis of Malaysian organisations project design documents (PDDs) and interview transcripts to interpret and determine the “conceptionsof SD.

Findings

Documentation and interviews with Malaysian CDM organisations show that SD conceptions range from “business as usual” to weak ecological modernisation. The key narratives are both economic and technocratic but have little to do with SD concerns about ecological limitations and social equity.

Originality/value

The empirical evidence provides insights into the motivations and challenges of a developing country's commitment to SD. We perform the study in an accountability space other than corporate financial reporting. Unlike external corporate reports, PDDs are closer to the underlying organisational reality as they are internal project documents made publicly accessible through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, allowing for a more transparent evaluation. The evidence shows how the organisational approach to SD is institutionalised through the mediating role of discourse and texts used by the actors within the CDM.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 34 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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