Sustainable Development in Business Education: The Role of Entrepreneurship as Pedagogy

Sustainable Development in Business Education: The Role of Entrepreneurship as Pedagogy

Fernando Lourenço, Natalie Sappleton, Weng Si Lei, Ranis Cheng
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8468-3.ch072
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This chapter highlights the challenges of teaching sustainability in business schools. The authors provide a discussion of economic liberalism and different forms of stakeholder theory to explain the varying attitudes among educators towards ethics, responsibility and sustainability. The assumption that business schools encourage a ‘profit-first-mentality' is fleshed out, and it is argued that this attitude likely affects the effectiveness of teaching and learning in respect to ethical, responsible and sustainable values. The chapter later questions whether it is better to flow with the dominant economic-driven values as prescribed by conventional business education or to challenge it in order to nurture sustainability-driven values among students. These options are explored and the suggestion that entrepreneurship has a role to play as a pedagogical tool to support the teaching of sustainable development is offered. It is argued that entrepreneurship does not confront, but supports the extant values of conventional business education and therefore is a feasible approach for business education. Finally, implications for business and management education, as well as, the role of entrepreneurship to promote sustainability-values are discussed drawing on models and two case studies (UK and China).
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Organisation Background

Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, Manchester (UK)

Manchester Metropolitan University has a total student population of more than 37,000. It is the largest campus-based undergraduate university in the UK. The University started from a centre of Technology, Art and Design from Manchester Mechanics’ Institution in 1824 and later added Manchester School of Design in 1838, Education in 1878, Domestic Science in 1880 and the School of Commerce in 1889. Colleges were also added at multiple locations in the Northwest of England in early 1910s. Today, the University has eight faculties offering research to the government and industry as well as offering over 1,000 courses and qualifications at undergraduate, postgraduate and professional development. In 2011, the University was the most popular University as measured by undergraduate applications in the 2011 intake, receiving more than 56,000 applications (MMU, 2013a). Manchester Metropolitan University Business School (MMUBS), previously known as the School of Commerce, has been supporting industry and commerce since 1889. The business school is one of the largest schools in the UK, offering courses to around 4,000 undergraduate and 1,000 postgraduate students in 2012-13 (MMUBS, 2013).

The University puts sustainability as a top priority with nine areas set up to support sustainability strategies: Environmental Management Systems; Energy Management; Water Management; Waste Management; Built Environment; Sustainable Procurement; Sustainability in the Curriculum; Travel Planning; Communication of Environmental Sustainability (MMU, 2013c). Prior to the commitments made to sustainability, the University was ranked 91st in the People and Planet Green League (a league table that ranks UK universities by their environmental and ethical performance) in 2006. In 2012, the University jumped to become the 10th greenest universities in the UK and was awarded 1st class in the People & Planet Green League 2012 (People and Planet, 2012). In 2013, the University has moved to the top of the People and Planet Green League Table (People and Planet, 2013).

Sustainability and curriculum at the University is taken very seriously. There are policies in place to ensure that all its students become ‘sustainability literate’ when they graduate (MMU, 2013b, 2013c). To support his aim, a group called Curriculum for Sustainable Living was established to facilitate academics from across all faculties to incorporate sustainability content into core units at all levels and to develop sustainability values commensurate with specific discipline areas (MMU, 2013b). The Business School has currently become a member of the Principles for Responsible Management Education1 (PRME, 2013) and is committed to follow the guidelines to develop its curricula to reflect values such as responsibility, sustainability and ethics. Many new courses as well as existing courses are currently being developed and tested in accordance with the PRME criteria (MMUBS, 2012).

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