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Time to walk the talk : investigating the incorporation of sustainability at Lund University School of Economics and Management

John, Benedikt LU (2018) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20181
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Business and management are key in the transition toward a more sustainable world. Educating
leaders of tomorrow, business schools bear a profound responsibility to endow students with the
right tools and knowledge to successfully manage the challenges of tomorrow. As students and staff
recently raised the question if Lund University School of Economics and Management (LUSEM) does
justice to its responsibility regarding sustainability, this thesis examines the incorporation of
sustainability into the degree programmes of LUSEM and the underlying reasons for the status quo.
In doing so, this study employs a sequential explanatory strategy. First, a content analysis of 174
course guides, 12 programme overviews and curricula has been... (More)
Business and management are key in the transition toward a more sustainable world. Educating
leaders of tomorrow, business schools bear a profound responsibility to endow students with the
right tools and knowledge to successfully manage the challenges of tomorrow. As students and staff
recently raised the question if Lund University School of Economics and Management (LUSEM) does
justice to its responsibility regarding sustainability, this thesis examines the incorporation of
sustainability into the degree programmes of LUSEM and the underlying reasons for the status quo.
In doing so, this study employs a sequential explanatory strategy. First, a content analysis of 174
course guides, 12 programme overviews and curricula has been conducted. Having found that only
two out of twelve programmes feature a mandatory sustainability course, four programmes offer at
least an elective course, while the rest of the programmes do not have any course in which
sustainability is taught, this study concludes that sustainability has only been incorporated to a
marginal extent. Secondly, in search of explanations to this finding, eight key informant interviews
have been conducted. Using the Burke-Litwin model of Organizational Performance and Change as a
diagnostic tool to identify barriers and drivers, it has been found that externally, pressures from
companies, conservative journals, the university financing system and a lack of research funding
impede the incorporation of sustainability. Even though government authorities provide most of the
funding of LUSEM and sustainability has been integrated in the higher education act, they have not
been named as a progressive actor. In contrast, the EQUIS accreditation system seems to be a major
driver for the inclusion of sustainability into the public appearance and core documents of LUSEM.
However, since internally LUSEM’s leadership does not prioritize sustainability, most of the staff lack
in knowledge of sustainability and there are no incentive structures in place to stimulate changes in
favour of sustainability, only a few faculty members have created sustainability courses out of their
own motivation based on their academic freedom. Finally, to advance the incorporation of
sustainability, this paper proposes the dismantling of barriers to interdisciplinary work at Lund
University and the creation of positive incentive structures for the incorporation of sustainability in
the educational programmes both by the leadership of LUSEM and Swedish Government Authorities.
Only by making sustainability a real vision for LUSEM and Swedish higher education institutions, not
just fine words on letters of intent, the envisioned change will become possible. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
John, Benedikt LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
sustainability science, business education, Lund University School of Economics and Management, organisational Change, Sweden
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2018:019
language
English
id
8949288
date added to LUP
2018-06-16 11:53:50
date last changed
2018-06-16 11:53:50
@misc{8949288,
  abstract     = {Business and management are key in the transition toward a more sustainable world. Educating
leaders of tomorrow, business schools bear a profound responsibility to endow students with the
right tools and knowledge to successfully manage the challenges of tomorrow. As students and staff
recently raised the question if Lund University School of Economics and Management (LUSEM) does
justice to its responsibility regarding sustainability, this thesis examines the incorporation of
sustainability into the degree programmes of LUSEM and the underlying reasons for the status quo.
In doing so, this study employs a sequential explanatory strategy. First, a content analysis of 174
course guides, 12 programme overviews and curricula has been conducted. Having found that only
two out of twelve programmes feature a mandatory sustainability course, four programmes offer at
least an elective course, while the rest of the programmes do not have any course in which
sustainability is taught, this study concludes that sustainability has only been incorporated to a
marginal extent. Secondly, in search of explanations to this finding, eight key informant interviews
have been conducted. Using the Burke-Litwin model of Organizational Performance and Change as a
diagnostic tool to identify barriers and drivers, it has been found that externally, pressures from
companies, conservative journals, the university financing system and a lack of research funding
impede the incorporation of sustainability. Even though government authorities provide most of the
funding of LUSEM and sustainability has been integrated in the higher education act, they have not
been named as a progressive actor. In contrast, the EQUIS accreditation system seems to be a major
driver for the inclusion of sustainability into the public appearance and core documents of LUSEM.
However, since internally LUSEM’s leadership does not prioritize sustainability, most of the staff lack
in knowledge of sustainability and there are no incentive structures in place to stimulate changes in
favour of sustainability, only a few faculty members have created sustainability courses out of their
own motivation based on their academic freedom. Finally, to advance the incorporation of
sustainability, this paper proposes the dismantling of barriers to interdisciplinary work at Lund
University and the creation of positive incentive structures for the incorporation of sustainability in
the educational programmes both by the leadership of LUSEM and Swedish Government Authorities.
Only by making sustainability a real vision for LUSEM and Swedish higher education institutions, not
just fine words on letters of intent, the envisioned change will become possible.},
  author       = {John, Benedikt},
  keyword      = {sustainability science,business education,Lund University School of Economics and Management,organisational Change,Sweden},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Time to walk the talk : investigating the incorporation of sustainability at Lund University School of Economics and Management},
  year         = {2018},
}