Can Management Education Change the Culture of Business?

Can Management Education Change the Culture of Business?

by Theresa Heithaus
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Integrating #sustainability into business school curriculum @CSRwire #MBA

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Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 12:30pm

CAMPAIGN: Education for a Sustainable Future


It was the work of organizations like the UN, AACSB International, EFMD, the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, EABIS, GMAC, GRLI, and Net Impact that led to the recognition by the United Nations of the need for a focus on the leadership being taught in higher education institutions—and in particular in management education. The PRME initiative (Principles for Responsible Management Education) was developed to fill this role eight years ago by the UN Global Compact, deans, university presidents, and representatives of business schools. 

Throughout these eight years, students have been increasingly requesting and even driving the sustainability agendas at their schools, not so surprisingly, considering arguments that management education has developed to teach a narrow role of managers, to maximize shareholder profit—and not a role of leadership in society. Students, faculty, deans, and whole institutions are embracing the idea that sustainability in the private sector can help solve the many environmental and social challenges we face in the world. Furthermore, business is one of, if not the most popular major for undergraduates and postgraduates. “It is essentially the education of our citizenry,” said Judith Samuelson, the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Business & Society Program, recently. This brings incredible potential, which is already being tapped into by many, for management education to influence to develop the attitudes, ethics and visions of future leaders. 

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Theresa Heithaus focuses on building networks for partnership, and facilitating curriculum development on sustainability issues as Workstreams Coordinator for the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). Prior to joining PRME in 2013, she supported the Participatory Development Programme of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit in Cairo, Egypt, on building community-government dialogue and engagement, and empowering youth in urban informal areas, and developed outreach and fundraising initiatives at the oral history nonprofit, StoryCorps, in Brooklyn. She holds a Master in Public Policy from the Hertie School of Governance, and resides in Berlin, Germany.

CATEGORY: Education