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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2019

Wendy Maria Purcell, Heather Henriksen and John D. Spengler

Universities can do more to deliver against the sustainable development goals (SDGs), working with faculty, staff and students, as well as their wider stakeholder…

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Abstract

Purpose

Universities can do more to deliver against the sustainable development goals (SDGs), working with faculty, staff and students, as well as their wider stakeholder community and alumni body. They play a critical role in helping shape new ways for the world, educating global citizens and delivering knowledge and innovation into society. Universities can be engines of societal transformation. Using a multiple case study approach, this study aims to explore different ways of strategizing sustainability toward delivering the SDGs are explored in a university setting with an example from the UK, Bulgaria (Europe) and USA.

Design/methodology/approach

The first case is a public UK university that adopted enterprise and sustainability as its academic mission to secure differentiation in a disrupted and increasingly marketized global higher education sector; this became a source of inspiration for change in regional businesses and the local community. The second case is a business sector-led sustainability-driven transformation working with a private university in Bulgaria to catalyze economic regeneration and social innovation. Finally, a case from the office for sustainability in a major US research university is given to show how its engagement program connected faculty and students in sustainability projects within the institution and with external partners.

Findings

Each case is in effect a “living lab,” positioning sustainability as an intentional and aspirational strategy with sustainable development and the SDG framework a means to that end. Leadership at all levels, and by students, was key to success in acting with a shared purpose. Partnerships within and with universities can help accelerate delivery of the SDGs, enabling higher education to make a fuller contribution to sustaining the economic, environmental, cultural and intellectual well-being of our global communities.

Originality/value

The role of universities as the engine of transformational sustainability toward delivering the SDGs has been explored by way of three case studies that highlight different means toward that end. The collegiate nature of the higher education sector, with its shared governance models and different constituencies and performance drivers, means that sustainability at a strategic level must be led with leaders at all levels acting with purpose. The “living lab” model can become a part of transformative institutional change that draws on both top-down and bottom-up strategies in pursuit of sustainable development.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 31 July 2019

Wendy Maria Purcell and Teresa Chahine

Disruptive megatrends, such as technology and globalization, are driving transformational change in universities as they seek to differentiate themselves given economic…

Abstract

Purpose

Disruptive megatrends, such as technology and globalization, are driving transformational change in universities as they seek to differentiate themselves given economic and social market forces. However, higher education (HE) institutions can struggle to achieve change at the scale and speed needed, given their pluralistic nature and competing goals. As primarily collegiate organizations run by academics, leadership and governance are by persuasion and consensus over diktat. A retrospective analysis of the transformational journey of a UK university that set its radical new mission to become “the Enterprise University” has been undertaken, and a new leadership and governance framework articulated. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing upon a conceptual framework of leadership and governance to codify change management and its acceleration, the change journey in a university undergoing a strategic transformation has been analyzed. Leadership and organizational frameworks are examined focusing on the interactions between the senior management hierarchy (SMH), as the command-control operating system, and the adaptive community of social networks within the university and external stakeholders. The critical steps in effecting institutional change and the nature of the social agreements underpinning transformation are subject to retrospective analysis. How ideas flowed through the organization to create value through innovation is reviewed.

Findings

Analyses reveal how the SMH worked with the adaptive social networks of staff and stakeholders in concert around a shared purpose, identifying enablers and barriers to a healthy idea flow. Drawing on the leadership and governance framework empowers organizational transformation, paying more deliberate attention to the stewardship of ideas and how change actually happens. To thrive in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments and sustain competitive advantage in a dynamic global market place, leaders need to be able to harness the social forces and inspire people to take actions around a shared vision of the future.

Originality/value

Universities represent a traditional community of knowledge workers and service professionals where approaches to leadership and governance are typically collegiate and consensual. Examining the strategic transformation of a university seeking to move at pace to accommodate the global disruption of the HE sector is relevant to how change happens in related environments. Given the growth of the knowledge economy, represented as organizations and networks, key lessons are available. The importance of activating people around shared purpose through deliberate engagement by leaders with social networks is relevant to delivering transformation in conditions of super complexity.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 40 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

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Article
Publication date: 7 November 2008

Clare Lyonette and Rosemary Crompton

The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief summary of a series of papers presented at the gender, class, employment and family conference, held at City University…

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667

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief summary of a series of papers presented at the gender, class, employment and family conference, held at City University, London, in March 2008.

Design/methodology/approach

The conference involved 25 papers presented by invited speakers, and the report is based on summary notes, observations and conference abstracts.

Findings

This report summarises a range of contributions, theoretical and empirical, to the continuing debates on gender and class inequality in Britain, Europe and the USA. The evidence presented not only demonstrated the persistence of gender and class inequalities, but also provided a critique of the “individualisation” thesis. The contribution of both normative and material factors to gender inequality was extensively explored. The discussions focused upon a series of tensions and contradictions – between “sameness” and “difference” feminism; choice and constraint; capitalist markets and the human requirement for caring work.

Originality/value

Many of the papers drew on original empirical research, both quantitative and qualitative, using sophisticated methodologies. Longitudinal findings (cohort studies) were well represented, as were cutting‐edge theoretical contributions.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 27 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2016

Adelina Broadbridge and Sharon Anne Mavin

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2704

Abstract

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 31 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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