Inderscience Publishers

Educating for sustainability: A double-edged sword?

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

Evidence from three sections of an undergraduate Business, Government and Society (BG&S) core course suggests that heightened awareness of corporate and executive wrong-doing vis-a-vis the natural environment, and/or emphasis on the business case for greener business practices, may contribute to student cynicism regarding the normative value that business executives place on environmental quality. Since perception of authority-figure attitudes is an important driver of legitimacy, and since legitimacy influences willingness to take action, educating for sustainability may sometimes have the unintended effect of reducing student inclination to act on their personal beliefs once they join the workforce.

Keywords: sustainable business, education for sustainability, legitimacy, normative values, student attitudes, strong sustainability, education for sustainable development, undergraduate courses, higher education, business executives, environmental quality, corporate wrong-doing, green business

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