Sustainable practice in universities - leading and championing change

Lorne Butt, Elizabeth More, Gayle C. Avery

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In educating the next generation of professionals, universities have come to realise that they cannot ignore the global shift towards sustainable practice. From the perspectives of good business practice, moral obligation and professional relevance, universities have been compelled to move to more sophisticated practice in the interconnected spheres of economic, environmental and social activity. Evidence indicates that progress has been made, but long-term organisation-wide transformative change is still many years away. Two factors are often cited as reasons why sustainability programs are not as successful as they could be in universities - lack of leadership and failure to manage change. However, this paper proposes that it is the integration of these two factors that is the critical factor overall – that leadership itself is an issue in change management; and that leading the management of change is crucial to successful implementation of sustainable practice. This paper considers these issues within the context of preliminary analysis conducted upon interview data gathered from universities located in Sydney, Australia. This analysis demonstrates that leading sustainable practice is characterised by executive-level support for appropriate change management practices in order to achieve long-term organisation-wide transformative change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-559
Number of pages9
JournalThe 2011 Barcelona European Academic Conference : program & proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventBarcelona European Academic Conference 2011 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 6 Jun 20119 Jun 2011

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  • sustainable
  • sustainability
  • universities
  • leadership
  • change


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