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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Wim Lambrechts, Elli Verhulst and Sara Rymenams

This paper aims to provide insights into the relation between professional development (PD) and organisational change processes towards sustainability, with a specific focus on…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide insights into the relation between professional development (PD) and organisational change processes towards sustainability, with a specific focus on empowerment.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper builds upon a constructivist approach, combining a literature review, a desk research on key publications and reports and a socio-political analysis to reveal the specific context in Flanders, Belgium. Findings are then connected to earlier insights from research on organisational change for sustainability.

Findings

The paper provides a number of PD initiatives that focus on sustainability in general and in a single higher education (HE) institution. Framing such initiatives as an organisational change process offers insights on how elements of empowerment are currently incorporated in PD initiatives and how it can strengthen them to lead to the further integration of sustainability competences in HE.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations are linked with the kind of sources used in the constructivist approach. The analysis only looks at written reports on the topic, albeit it also builds upon the first-hand experiences of educators in the HE institution focused upon in the case.

Practical implications

There is a need to frame PD initiatives as an organisational change process towards sustainability with specific attention towards empowerment. Without this framing, PD approaches comprise the risk of being left in the margins or being understood as single initiatives without any connection to the bigger picture, i.e. the transition towards sustainability in HE.

Social implications

Interlinking PD and organisational change provides opportunities to frame the sustainability transition within the university in a wider societal context.

Originality/value

The paper provides an original contribution to the debate on sustainability competences, as it frames the PD within an organisational context, rather than focusing on the individual role of educators.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 February 2019

Cristian Roberto Valle, Elli Verhulst, Ida Nilstad Pettersen, Antje Junghans and Thomas Berker

This paper aims to apply frame analysis to explore the mental models by which building managers interpret the impact of building occupants on energy use and rationalize their…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to apply frame analysis to explore the mental models by which building managers interpret the impact of building occupants on energy use and rationalize their approach to occupant engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

Findings from four energy-efficient buildings (two schools and two office buildings) in Norway are presented. The methodology includes individual semi-structured interviews with both operational and strategic facilities managers

Findings

Concepts and theoretical perspectives with the potential to shape the building managers’ perceptions include technical knowledge and expertise, management responsibilities, familiarity with occupant routines and understanding of energy-efficient technologies. No significant impact was attributed to the actions of occupants in the areas of comfort, core function and behavior. Significant impact was attributed to their movement and presence. Perceptions of impact were found to influence, yet not determine, the building managers’ choices of practice.

Practical implications

Factors with the potential to affect the adoption of occupant engagement initiatives were highlighted. This study pointed to the role that automation and centralization can play in influencing facilities managers to rescind from their management responsibilities.

Originality/value

To the knowledge of the authors, this is the first study to use framings in thoughts to investigate the process by which facilities managers rationalize occupant engagement, in relation to their perception of occupant impact on energy use.

Details

Facilities , vol. 37 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

Keywords

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