The impacts of higher education institutions on sustainable development: A review and conceptualization

Findler, Florian and Schönherr, Norma and Lozano, Rodrigo and Reider, Daniela and Martinuzzi, Robert-Andre (2018) The impacts of higher education institutions on sustainable development: A review and conceptualization. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 19 (6). pp. 1-17. ISSN 1467-6370

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Purpose: This paper aims to conceptualize impacts of higher education institutions (HEIs) on sustainable development (SD), complementing previous literature reviews by broadening the perspective from what HEIs do in pursuit of SD to how these activities impact society, the environment and the economy. Design/methodology/Approach: The paper provides a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2005 and 2017. Inductive content analysis was applied to identify major themes and impact areas addressed in the literature to develop a conceptual framework detailing the relationship between HEIs- activities and their impacts on SD. Findings: The paper identi fi es six impact areas where direct and indirect impacts of HEIs on SD may occur. The fi ndings indicate a strong focus on case studies dealing with speci fi c projects and a lack of studies analyzing impacts from a more holistic perspective. Practical implications: This systematic literature review enables decision-makers in HEIs, researchers and educators to better understand how their activities may affect society, the environment and the economy, and it provides a solid foundation to tackle these impacts. Social implications: The review highlights that HEIs have an inherent responsibility to make societies more sustainable. HEIs must embed SD into their systems while considering their impacts on society. Originality/value: This paper provides a holistic conceptualization of HEIs- impacts on SD. The conceptual framework can be useful for future research that attempts to analyze HEIs- impacts on SD from a holistic perspective.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Higher education institutions, Sustainability, Impact, Review, Sustainable development
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2019 15:18
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2020 06:51
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