A Dean’s Eye View: Sustainability in Business Schools

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ssharmaDr. Sanjay Sharma is the Dean of the School of Business at University of Vermont. Prior to this appointment, he was Dean of the John Molson School of Business, Montreal and the Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Organizations. His research focuses on building organizational capacity and motivations for driving corporate sustainability strategy.

In his essay “Pathways of Influence for Sustainability in Business Schools: A Dean’s Eye View,” forthcoming in Organization & Environment and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section, Dr. Sharma writes:

oaeThere is no formula or a standard process that deans can follow toward building a more sustainable business school. It is clear that change has to be implemented and owned by faculty. However, I believe that the process of embedding sustainability cannot be gradual or cannot wait until the dean’s second term. If a dean has a passion for sustainability, the process must begin at the beginning of the term when all stakeholders expect change. A dean should begin by quickly identifying and listing all external and internal stakeholders of the school and understanding their agendas for the school and the depth of their support, indifference, and/or opposition to sustainability. If stakeholders need to be educated, understand what are the sustainability challenges that could affect each of the stakeholders? For example, educating Wall Street investment bankers about the risks of climate change and carbon prices to their business generated interest and sparked support. Champions within any stakeholder group—faculty, students, alumni, and donors—should be supported and linked with the agendas of other stakeholders.

Read the essay, “Pathways of Influence for Sustainability in Business Schools: A Dean’s Eye View,” in Organization & Environment, and click here to sign up for e-alerts about new research from the journal.

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