Sustainability leadership entails the processes, which leaders, policymakers, and academics undertake in order to implement sustainable development policies and other initiatives within their organizations. It encompasses approaches, methods, and systemic solutions to solve problems and drive institutional policy towards a more sustainable organization. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) play a particularly important role, especially with regard to their institutional leadership role in promoting sustainable development. There is a paucity of research focusing on sustainability leadership in universities. In order to address this gap, this paper discussed the concept of sustainability leadership based on literature and empirical insights. The study aimed to understand the main characteristics of sustainability leaders at HEI and the main challenges they are confronted with. Secondary research questions involved gender issues and positive outcomes of sustainability leadership. The empirical component of the study consisted of an online-questionnaire survey performed among leaders (n = 50) from a set of universities in 29 countries. The sampling scheme was purposive, based on the membership in the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Program (IUSDRP). The study was explorative in nature, and the descriptive statistics were used for the analysis. Due to the purposive sampling, the participants from top management positions could be considered as experienced, and their views were assumed to be information-rich. With a self-evaluation, the respondents described their leadership style and their usual traits, with inclusive style and systemic thinking being predominant in the sample. Regarding the skills, the respondents selected the ability to innovate, to think long-term, and to manage complexity from a pre-defined set of options. Connectedness with interdisciplinarity and knowledge about organizational settings, as well as global challenges and dilemmas, were stated as important issues related to the knowledge required for being a leader. Regarding requirements for a change towards more sustainable universities’ curriculum adaptation, investments in education for sustainable development (ESD), sustainable procurement, and reporting were mentioned. The study also revealed that gender issues were taken seriously among the sampled institutions, which is an encouraging trend. Challenges seen in implementing sustainability leadership are, for instance, a lack of interest by the university administration and among some members of the academic community, as well as lack of expertise and materials or resources. Based on the empirical insights, a set of measures were listed and which may be adopted in the future, so as to allow leaders of Higher Education Institutions to enhance their sustainability performance.
By applying systems thinking theory to capabilities literature, this paper examines the factors that support the development of dynamic capabilities towards sustainable management. For such, we conducted an in-depth single case study using Soft System Methodology (SSM) in an energy organisation from an emerging economy. Our analysis of the last twenty years of operation revealed that the organisation has developed new ways to change and adapt in a disturbing environment by integrating sustainability into three factors: (1) integrative strategy (green products, biodiversity, organic processes and self-sufficient electricity), (2) sustainable culture (sustainable mindset, environmental awareness, learning orientation and decision-making processes) and (3) organisational routines for innovation (new green processes and products, partnerships/alliances and knowledge management). Our results extend the literature by raising a conceptual framework of the fundamental dimensions of dynamic capabilities for sustainability. This is the first study that connects systems thinking and dynamic capabilities theories applied to sustainable management.
One negative point of management education is the lack of integration between the disciplines that restrains a systemic view. Moreover, there is not much research about an interdisciplinary approach to management. This paper applies soft systems methodology to develop a scale of interdisciplinarity in order to evaluate management education. We conclude that interdisciplinarity in management education is a social system that requires complex thinking development for management students. The scale addresses three dimensions: curriculum structure, organization and didactics.
PurposeOrganisations may be considered, at the same time, either part of the problem or part of the solution for the social‐environmental crisis that is occurring. To be part of the solution, they must head for a strategic management of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The objective of the present study is to identify and analyse the interfaces between theoretical models of strategic implementation of CSR and the variables and major players involved in this process.Design/methodology/approachThis is a qualitative research using a case study strategy. The company chosen for this case study has been highlighted as one of the best national companies to work for, with significant social responsibility indices.FindingsThe case study found some results, such as the importance of aligning with human resource management for strategic implementation of CSR and the integrative characteristic between different workers, that are essential for this process.Originality/valueOnly a few international articles discuss CSR in Brazil. The results could be useful for classes focusing on “Doing business in Brazil”.
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