Journal Article

Embedding a sustainability mindset in responsible management education


Purpose. Organisational responses to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals depend on the competency and mindset of business leaders to lead responsibly. This study is informed and underpinned by the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME). We examine how embedding the ‘sustainability mindset principles’ within a university programme can contribute to responsible management education and, by extension, leadership development.     Design/methodology/approach. An illustrative case study using 84 students was applied, including undergraduate, postgraduate, and executive MBA students. An exploratory, qualitative design was followed, primarily adopting focus groups. Findings. Evidenced learning gains in connecting sustainability knowledge with personal beliefs and behaviours, provide a compelling basis for educational and business practitioners to focus on the sustainability mindset principles. Mapping of mindset against leading global competency frameworks provides important theoretical insight. Learning is illustrated through multiple dimensions (i.e. cognitive, behavioural, and affective) to inform leadership development approaches.  Originality. This study is original in the pedagogic examination of the learning dimensions of the sustainability mindset principles in a Business and Management programme. It also offers new insights in terms of the implications for leadership development.   Research limitations/implications. The mapping of sustainability competency frameworks against the sustainability mindset principles, alongside qualitative research insights, provides a compelling basis for further research into the learning gains from embedding the mindset principles. The situated nature of the study and the lack of longitudinal measurement of what students take forward into their lives and workplaces is a limiting factor to be considered. Practical implications. This study evidences the value of ‘whole-person’ learning for responsible management, which can helpfully inform the design of both educational and workplace leadership development programmes.   

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Cripps, Karen
Smith, Simon M.

Oxford Brookes departments

Oxford Brookes Business School


Year of publication: [not yet published]
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-08-25

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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