Educating Business Students About Sustainability: A Bibliometric Review of Current Trends and Research Needs

Abstract

There has been substantial growth of interest in sustainability in business, management and organisational studies in recent years. This article applies Oswick’s (J Manag Spirit Relig 6(1):15–25, 2009) method of bibliometric research to ascertain how this growth has been reflected in scholarly publishing, particularly as it relates to business and management education over the 20 years 1994–2013. The research has found that sustainability as a general topic in business and management studies, as evidenced by scholarly publishing, has accelerated rapidly both in terms of items published and cited. In the mid-2000s, the emphasis of books published in this area began to change from one which advocated ‘sustainable development’ to one which viewed sustainability as a management practice which could help businesses and society simultaneously. The literature on sustainability within the field of management and business education has been smaller, but has enjoyed a similar growth rate which accelerated sharply in the most recent 5 years of the dataset. Most of the scholarly, peer-reviewed articles analysed tend to advocate the inclusion of sustainability on business school curricula, or to demonstrate the various ways in which faculty have integrated sustainability-related principles in their teaching. A smaller amount of research has been undertaken on the learning experiences of the ‘recipients’ of these approaches. There is evidence of an extensive variety of approaches used by educators, but the most significant research need which presented is for more empirically driven studies on how and why business and management students engage with the principles of sustainability.

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Correspondence to John G. Cullen.

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Cullen, J.G. Educating Business Students About Sustainability: A Bibliometric Review of Current Trends and Research Needs. J Bus Ethics 145, 429–439 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2838-3

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Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Management education
  • Bibliometrics
  • Business education