The technological community as a framework for educating for sustainability in business schools

Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Management & Organization, 2011, 17 (5), pp. 656 - 669
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This paper adapts and extends the technological community perspective (e.g., Van de Ven, 1993), to analyze the findings of a research project funded by the Australian Government, conducted by the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability (ARIES), and supported by Macquarie University. Study participants included project teams from five Australian business schools who collaborated with selected business or industry partners for the purpose of: 1) integrating sustainability into business school curricula and pedagogy; 2) implementing or enhancing sustainability by industry collaborators, in the form of corporate policies and practices; and 3) fostering new and stronger partnerships-including knowledge sharing--between and among corporations and business schools. The technological community perspective, which is particularly well-suited to examining this innovative education for sustainability project, is a theoretical framework that examines evolution of innovation at the community level; this includes multiple internal and external stakeholders, and is beyond the more traditional uni-dimensional focus on organization or industry levels. This approach can provide lessons with respect to complex and dynamic interactions between and among multiple stakeholders responsible for successful development and dissemination of sustainability in business schools, corporations, and beyond. Hence, this paper addresses issues raised in the call for papers for the special issue of Journal of Management and Organizations, "Educating for Sustainability and CSR: What is the role of business schools?" The paper addresses the questions: 1) What are the barriers for business schools with respect to integrating sustainability in the curricula; 2) What role do partnerships play?; and 3) What role is there for communities of practice?
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