Sustainable Development and Consciousness Development: Realizing a Sustainable World Through Management Education

Sustainable Development and Consciousness Development: Realizing a Sustainable World Through Management Education

Nakita Bruno Green, Dennis Heaton
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5345-9.ch056
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This chapter addresses how management education can propel the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by including tools for consciousness development within degree programs. Consciousness is the capacity to comprehend and care about the wholeness of life in ourselves, our society, and the natural world. Recent studies indicate that how individuals perceive challenges, formulate solutions, and collaborate with others is determined by their development of consciousness – that individuals functioning at higher levels of development are more likely to demonstrate sustainable leadership than those at lower states. To realize a sustainable world, universities must provide the necessary tools for students to transcend conventional thinking and experience higher states of consciousness. When the technologies of consciousness are included in management education, the world will realize a global shift towards a new sustainable paradigm.
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The On-Going Global Challenge

In an effort to eliminate existential challenges and create a sustainable world for future generations, 195 countries worldwide signed the 2015 Paris Agreement, the most inclusive global agreement to date. Also referred to as the 2030 agenda, the Paris Agreement calls for a world void of poverty, inequality, violence and global warming where all human beings are able to fulfill their full potential in dignity, realize human rights and equality, and live in peaceful, just and inclusive societies. However according to the Human Development Report (United Nations, 2016), the world still faces many complex challenges. Some are global (gender inequality), some are local (natural disasters), some are deepening (inequalities), and some emerging (violent extremism). Most are urgent and mutually reinforcing. Thus the Director General of UNESCO advocated for education that prepares students for the challenge of sustainable development: “Education for Sustainable Development is a life-wide and lifelong endeavor which challenges individuals, institutions and societies to view tomorrow as a day that belongs to all of us, or it will not belong to anyone” (Koichiro Matsuura, 2005, quoted in Huisingh, 2007, p. 3). The United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (UNPRME), contends that for sustainable development to become the prevailing paradigm, management education should play an active role (PRME, 2019a). Similarly, Rayment and Smith (2013), argue that it is important for universities to recognize the important role they play in shaping the future managers of the global society. Over the last decade Bachelor of Business degrees have consistently accounted for the largest number of degrees awarded in the United States (see Figure 1 in the Appendix). This positions management education as one of the most prominent mediums for influencing the ideas and strategies of those who will lead tomorrow’s businesses, industries and by extension the global economy. Consequently, it is necessary for Management Education to utilize the best methods for developing sustainable leaders.

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