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The Responsible Business Person: Studies of business education for sustainability
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. Södertörn University, Teacher Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0045-1587
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Calls for the inclusion of sustainable development in the business curriculum have increased significantly in the wake of the financial crisis and increased concerns around climate change. This has led to the appearance of new initiatives and the development of new teaching approaches. This thesis explores business education at the upper secondary school level in Sweden following the inclusion of the concept of sustainable development in the curriculum. Drawing on poststructuralist discourse theory, the overarching purpose is to identify the roles of a responsible business person that are articulated in business education and to discuss how these roles could enable students to address sustainability issues. The thesis consists of four studies, based on textbook analyses, teacher interviews and classroom observations. Three categories of roles have been identified, implying that a business person is expected to either adapt to, add or create ethical values. These three categories are compared with the roles indicated in the environmental discourses constructed by Dryzek and the responsibility regimes developed by Pellizzoni. Drawing on Dryzek’s and Pellizzoni’s reasoning about which qualities are important for addressing sustainability issues, it is concluded that the roles identified in the studies could mean that students are unequipped (the adapting role), ill-equipped (the adding role) or better equipped (the creating role) to address uncertain and complex sustainability issues. The articles include empirical examples that illustrate how and in which situations specific roles are articulated, privileged or taken up. The examples also indicate how the scope for business students’ subjectivities are facilitated or hampered. It is suggested that the illustrative empirical examples could be used for critical reflection in order to enhance students’capabilities of addressing uncertain and complex sustainability issues and to improve educational quality in terms of scope for subjectivity.

Abstract [sv]

I kölvattnet av den finanskris som kulminerade 2008 och växande uppmärksamhet för olika miljö- och hållbarhetsutmaningar, som exempelvis klimatförändringar, har uppmaningar till integrering av ’hållbar utveckling’ i ekonomiutbildningar ökat internationellt. Miljö och hållbarhetsfrågor har sedan tidigare varit framskrivna i gymnasieskolans styrdokument men i samband med den senaste gymnasiereformen 2011 skrevs begreppet hållbar utveckling tydligare in i Företagsekonomiämnets ämnesplan. Denna avhandling undersöker integrering av hållbarhetsfrågor inom ramen för undervisning i företagsekonomi och närliggande ekonomiämnen på gymnasienivå. Utifrån ett poststrukturalistiskt perspektiv är det övergripande syftet att identifiera vilka företagarroller som artikuleras i läromedeloch undervisning, och även att diskutera i vilken utsträckning dessa roller förbereder de studerande, som framtida företagare, att hantera hållbarhetsfrågor. Avhandlingen består av fyra delstudier som baseras på analyser av läroböcker, lärarintervjuer och klassrumsobservationer. Tre kategorier av företagarroller, som rymmer olika förväntningar på en ansvarstagande företagare har identifierats. Dessa olika roller innebär att en företagare förväntas antingen: anpassa sig till etiska värden som uttrycks i lagar och regler, addera etiska värden som efterfrågas av andra, eller skapa etiska värden. Rollerna skiljer sig åt huruvida en företagare: skall hålla egna känslor för hållbarhetsfrågor åt sidan (anpassande rollen), har utrymme för egna känslor (adderande rollen) eller måste involvera egna känslor (skapande rollen), vid fattande av affärsbeslut. Dessa roller jämförs med de företagarroller som impliceras i Dryzeks miljödiskurser och Pellizzonis ansvarsregimer. Utifrån Dryzeks och Pellizzonis argument om vilka kvaliteter som är viktiga för att hantera hållbarhetsfrågor dras slutsatsen att de studerande kan bli: icke rustade (den anpassande rollen), illa rustade (den adderande rollen) eller bättre rustade (den skapande rollen), att hantera osäkra och komplexa hållbarhetsfrågor, beroende på hur hållbarhetsfrågor integreras i företagsekonomiundervisningen. De fyra artiklarna innehåller detaljerade exempel på hur och i vilka situationer specifika företagarroller artikuleras eller privilegieras. Exemplen visar också i vilka situationer utbildningen tilltalar de studerande och potentiellt blivande företagarna som moraliska subjekt och ger utrymme för de studerandes subjektivitet (som inbegriper förnuft och egna känslor).Dessa exempel kan användas av (bl a) lärare som utgångspunkt för kritisk reflektion i syfte att förstärka de studerandes förmågor att som framtida företagare hantera osäkra och komplexa hållbarhetsfrågor, samt för att utveckla utbildningens kvalitet avseende dess subjektifierande funktion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2016. , 195 p.
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 116
Keyword [en]
education, sustainable development, responsibility, environment, business, curriculum, teaching, discourse analysis, poststructuralism, pedagogy, classroom
National Category
Educational Sciences Environmental Sciences Didactics
Research subject
Environmental Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29400ISBN: 978-91-87843-40-2 (print)ISBN: 978-91-87843-41-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-29400DiVA: diva2:899314
Public defence
2016-03-04, Room MA 636, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Södertörn University, HUDDINGE, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-02-05 Created: 2016-01-29 Last updated: 2017-04-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A business to change the world: Moral responsibility in textbooks for International Economics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A business to change the world: Moral responsibility in textbooks for International Economics
2011 (English)In: Utbildning och Demokrati, ISSN 1102-6472, Vol. 20, no 1, 79-96 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents an empirical analysis of textbooks for International Economics in upper secondary schools with a focus on moral responsibility for the environment and society. The purpose is to analyze the meanings offered to students regarding the scope of taking moral responsibility in relation to the role of a business person. Four different meanings are formulated as a result of the study: one states that a business only can take responsibility in order to obey laws and respond to consumer demands, a second and third meanings imply that, a business can make demands, to different extents, on subcontractors. A fourth meaning include that a business (apart from making profit) also can be a tool for change. The different meanings are discussed in relation to different functions of education (Biesta 2008, Säfström 2005) and Education for Sustainable Development. The main argument is that a tool for change-meaning, contributing to a subjectification function of education, ought to have an increased space in education, if we want students who are engaged in sustainability issues regarding the environment and the society also to see a future working within the business world. This is equally important if we want business students to see a future working for sustainable development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro Universitet, 2011
Keyword
educational meanings, sustainable development, moral responsibility, curriculum theory, economics education, läroplanteori, meningsskapande, hållbar utveckling, moraliskt ansvarstagande, ekonomiundervisning
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-14544 (URN)
Available from: 2012-01-09 Created: 2012-01-09 Last updated: 2016-03-03Bibliographically approved
2. Logics of business education for sustainability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Logics of business education for sustainability
2016 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871, Vol. 22, no 4, 463-479 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores various kinds of logics of ‘business education for sustainability’and how these ‘logics’ position the subject business person, based on eight teachers’ reasoning of their own practices. The concept of logics developed within a discourse theoretical framework is employed to analyse the teachers’ reasoning. The analysis takes its starting point in different approaches to how a business ought to or could take responsibility for sustainable development. Different approaches to business ethical responsibilities, in combination with assumptions about how educational content is legitimised and presupposed purposes of education, are used to construct logics of business education for sustainability. In the paper, the results of this analysis are presented as: the logic of profit-, social- or radical-oriented business education. Our results also show how the different logics position the subject business person differently, as one who adapts to, adds or creates ethical values. The results are first discussed in terms of how environmental and social challenges could be dealt with in the future and secondly, considering the risk of de-subjectification with regard to profit-oriented business education, the implications this may have for the educational quality itself.

Keyword
business education; ethics; education for sustainable development; subject position; logics
National Category
Educational Sciences Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Environmental Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-26551 (URN)10.1080/13504622.2015.1015493 (DOI)000377025100001 ()
Available from: 2015-03-10 Created: 2015-03-10 Last updated: 2017-04-12Bibliographically approved
3. Equipped for responsibility: A case of business education for sustainability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Equipped for responsibility: A case of business education for sustainability
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a study of the roles of a business person articulated byteachers in the classroom when the concept of sustainable development is incorporated into the subject of business economics. The empirical material, consisting of video recorded observations in five teachers’ classrooms, was collected two years after the inclusion of the concept in theupper secondary school syllabus in Sweden. The concept of logics developed within a discourse theoretical framework is used to analyse the meaning of ‘doing business sustainably’ as depicted by teachers in classroom practice. The paper illustrates that different rules and conditions for doing business are foregrounded in classroom practice by distinguishing between the logics of self-interest, conscious consumers and stakeholders’ interests. Each logic positions a business person differently. These positions are analysed using a typology of responsibility. The conclusion is that students could become unequipped, ill-equipped or better equipped to address uncertain and complex sustainability issues depending on how sustainable development is integrated into the business curriculum.

Keyword
discourse analysis, logics, role, teaching, sustainable development, business, education, curriculum, classroom observations
National Category
Didactics Environmental Sciences Educational Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29405 (URN)
Note

Som manuskript i avhandling. As manuscript in dissertation.

Available from: 2016-02-01 Created: 2016-01-29 Last updated: 2017-04-12Bibliographically approved
4. Business as un-usual through dislocatory moments – change for sustainability and scope for subjectivity in classroom practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Business as un-usual through dislocatory moments – change for sustainability and scope for subjectivity in classroom practice
2017 (English)In: Environmental Education Research, ISSN 1350-4622, E-ISSN 1469-5871Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This paper makes a contribution to the debate that has been described as a tension between instrumental and emancipatory educational objectives in environment and sustainability education. The contribution involves a methodological approach (introd-) using the concept ‘dislocatory moments’, to identify and analyse moments in classroom practice that address educational objectives relating to ‘change for sustainability’ and ‘thinking and acting independently’. A case of business education, when ‘sustainable development’ is integrated in a series of lessons, is used to exemplify the approach involving analysis of the emergence and closure of a dislocatory moment and the change of logics that occur. The illustrative case shows how room for subjectivity and change can be intertwined in educational practice. It is suggested that the methodological approach could be used in empirical research of classroom practice to further knowledge about the kind of situations that contribute to ‘business as un-usual’ without compromising emancipatory education ideals.

Keyword
Discourse analysis, dislocation, logics, subjectification, environment and sustainability education, classroom observations, Practical Epistemology Analysis
National Category
Didactics Environmental Sciences Educational Sciences
Research subject
Environmental Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-29406 (URN)10.1080/13504622.2017.1320704 (DOI)
Note

Som manuskript i avhandling. As manuscript in dissertation.

Title: Business as unusual through dislocatory moments

Available from: 2016-02-01 Created: 2016-01-29 Last updated: 2017-04-24Bibliographically approved

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