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PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO VINCENT.BLOK@WUR.NL IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE THE PDF Over the past few years, individual competencies for sustainability have received a lot of attention in the educational, sustainability and business administration literature. In this article, we explore the meaning of two rather new and unfamiliar moral competencies in the field of corporate sustainability: normative competence and action competence. Because sustainability can be seen as a highly complex or ‘wicked’ problem, it is unclear what ‘normativity’ in the normative competence and ‘responsible action’ in the action competence actually mean. In this article, we raise the question how both these moral competencies have to be understood and how they are related to each other. We argue for a virtue ethics perspective on both moral competencies, because this perspective is able to take the wickedness of sustainability into account. It turns out that virtue ethics enables us to conceptualize normative competence and action competence as two aspects of one virtuous competence for sustainability.
... This perspective informs how we look at collective dimensions of practical wisdom, such as in research teams or academic institutions. 56 has been defined as a virtuous competence, which exists in the virtuous character of the person and in their competent actions. Practical wisdom is the competence to foster and apply virtues depending on the characteristics and demands of a given situation. ...
... Virtue ethics through practical wisdom offers an integrated and learning-oriented approach to deal with the normative complexities of knowledge co-production in sustainability science (Fig. 1). It allows for highlighting and organizing some of the most important capacities that support researchers to wisely navigate such complexities, from justice, care, humility and courage (the will) to agility, intelligence, discernment and strategy (the skill) 56,57 . Yet, an ethics of practical wisdom does not provide either easy recipes or certainty of success. ...
... With its focus on the ethical dimensions of knowledge co-production, the account of practical wisdom in this article complements existing works on capacities for sustainability transformations, that have paid little attention to researchers' own capacities to deal with the challenges of their research practice 57 . It also promises to enrich work in education for sustainable development when dealing with normative and action competencies 56 . However, as this article is based on Western and human-centred virtue ethics, it will be important to critically compare it with the many virtue-centred approaches from major world religions (such as Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism, where long-standing traditions often predate Western schools of thought 16,37 ) and with Indigenous philosophical and spiritual traditions around the world, which often approach wisdom from a deeply relational and non-human centric perspective (such as, for example, those of Māori communities, the Nishnaabeg people and the Ubuntu philosophy) 59 . ...
Article
Since antiquity, philosophers in the Western tradition of virtue ethics have declared practical wisdom to be the central virtue of citizens involved in public and social life. Practical wisdom is of particular importance when values are conflicting, power is unequal and knowledge uncertain. We propose that practical wisdom and virtue ethics can inform the practice of sustainability researchers by strengthening their capacity to engage with the normative complexities of knowledge co-production when aspiring to contribute to transformative change. Philosophers in the Western tradition of virtue ethics have long considered practical wisdom a central virtue. This Perspective suggests that virtue ethics and practical wisdom can enrich the work of sustainability researchers, helping them to navigate the challenges of co-producing knowledge and effecting transformative change.
... In line with this notion and building upon our experience as course developers and educators, we propose a learning setting where students are encouraged to think outside the "wrong and right" paradigm. The grand societal challenges are highly complex problems with norms and values of various stakeholders conflicting with each other (Blok et al., 2016). Therefore, we insist that it is essential to continuously question the legitimacy of teaching specific mind habits or points of view regarding, for example, sustainability. ...
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An entrepreneurial mindset is a special attitude or cognitive pattern enabling people to recognize opportunities in changes, and act in uncertain environments and without regard to the resources that are currently under their control. People with an entrepreneurial mindset actively shape their own future and our society. Fostering an entrepreneurial mindset is therefore not only relevant for the education of future founders; it is the key to harnessing the opportunities of technological development in such a way that we change our society for the better. This chapter discusses the significance, antecedents, and elements of an entrepreneurial mindset, and explores which didactic methods can be used to promote it in higher education. The authors describe their own experiences with the method of challenge-based learning, a further permutation of experiential learning that supports the development of an entrepreneurial mindset. The benefits of the approach will be discussed in the context of related educational theory and educational psychology to show that challenge-based learning can lead to innovative formats and can also be integrated into traditional settings, including courses that are not related to entrepreneurship at all.
... In line with this notion and building upon our experience as course developers and educators, we propose a learning setting where students are encouraged to think outside the "wrong and right" paradigm. The grand societal challenges are highly complex problems with norms and values of various stakeholders conflicting with each other (Blok et al., 2016). Therefore, we insist that it is essential to continuously question the legitimacy of teaching specific mind habits or points of view regarding, for example, sustainability. ...
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The purpose of this paper is to serve as a practical guide to assist South African teachers in introducing coding and robotics to their learners. The main challenges that are faced are the lack of resources (computer laboratories) as well as trained teachers. The paper investigates the importance of introducing learners not only to coding, but also to computational thinking. As a way to empower teachers resources that could assist in this process are discussed. Furthermore, actual activities and exercises are introduced. The coding app TANKS is introduced as a powerful unplugged tool to introduce coding and computational thinking without the need for computers.
... In line with this notion and building upon our experience as course developers and educators, we propose a learning setting where students are encouraged to think outside the "wrong and right" paradigm. The grand societal challenges are highly complex problems with norms and values of various stakeholders conflicting with each other (Blok et al., 2016). Therefore, we insist that it is essential to continuously question the legitimacy of teaching specific mind habits or points of view regarding, for example, sustainability. ...
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Service learning describes an increasingly established form of teaching and learning at universities combining academic learning with real-world problem solving. While traditional approaches work within existing social systems and, in the worst case, reproduce and perpetuate social problems, critical and transformative approaches aim at systemic changes in social practice, while showing their potential to address sustainability entrepreneurial competences that are key for (future) agents of transformation. This understanding of service learning challenges students and lecturers, and requires a structured, well-thought-out pathway. Our chapter introduces transformative service learning as a promising approach for entrepreneurship (oriented) education. The argumentation for it is competence-oriented while focusing on the abilities that can promote sustainable development. In addition, the chapter addresses the role of the lecturer, which to date has been rarely and very unsystematically examined. The paper also proposes the specific service learning IOOI tool that aims to support lecturers, especially in the early stages of service learning courses, and help streamline programs.
... In line with this notion and building upon our experience as course developers and educators, we propose a learning setting where students are encouraged to think outside the "wrong and right" paradigm. The grand societal challenges are highly complex problems with norms and values of various stakeholders conflicting with each other (Blok et al., 2016). Therefore, we insist that it is essential to continuously question the legitimacy of teaching specific mind habits or points of view regarding, for example, sustainability. ...
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Several factors contribute to the alarmingly high youth unemployment rate in South Africa. Barriers such as lack of access to education and practical work experience reflect these statistics and the socio-economic implications of graduate unemployment. This qualitative case study investigated the perceptions of engineering students' academic resilience in the context of higher education by using a youth development approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted online via Zoom with a sample consisting of 10 participants (aged 22–28 years), namely four Civil engineering students, four Electrical engineering students, and two Industrial engineering students. Six students were South African, whilst the remaining four were international students. Seven participants self-identified as male and three as female. Findings are discussed in terms of the three themes which emerged from the thematic analysis: (a) personal character strengths; (b) access to guidance, resources, and information and (c) a sense of belonging and social connection. This study focused on engineering education and developed a new interdisciplinary understanding of how entrepreneurship education may contribute to engineering students' academic resilience as a packaged support system that speaks to their psychosocial, educational and economic needs.
... In line with this notion and building upon our experience as course developers and educators, we propose a learning setting where students are encouraged to think outside the "wrong and right" paradigm. The grand societal challenges are highly complex problems with norms and values of various stakeholders conflicting with each other (Blok et al., 2016). Therefore, we insist that it is essential to continuously question the legitimacy of teaching specific mind habits or points of view regarding, for example, sustainability. ...
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Recent research has highlighted the ability of entrepreneurs to create sustainable impact and bring about the change required for solving today’s social and environmental challenges. It has also been pointed out that existing entrepreneurship training programs need to be transformed to effectively promote individuals in tackling these challenges and contributing to sustainable development. To address this matter, I developed a training course on sustainable entrepreneurship that builds on an action-oriented entrepreneurship training program (Student Training for Entrepreneurial Promotion (STEP)), which has been shown to increase short- and long-term entrepreneurial actions among students in various contexts. I integrated sustainability as a crosscutting theme into the training program to empower individuals to identify sustainable business opportunities and manage the increasing complexity of sustainable ventures. Pilot studies in Uganda and South Africa show promising results, indicating that STEP Sustainability (STEP S) can increase students’ sustainability-oriented and entrepreneurial mindsets.
... In line with this notion and building upon our experience as course developers and educators, we propose a learning setting where students are encouraged to think outside the "wrong and right" paradigm. The grand societal challenges are highly complex problems with norms and values of various stakeholders conflicting with each other (Blok et al., 2016). Therefore, we insist that it is essential to continuously question the legitimacy of teaching specific mind habits or points of view regarding, for example, sustainability. ...
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Transdisciplinary research projects offer practical learning environments and great opportunities for students and project partners to collaborate. This chapter presents two examples of practical seminars that provide open spaces for collaboration within the ENaQ Project in the Helleheide Urban Living Lab in Oldenburg, Germany. In these seminars, students worked directly with the project partners finding answers to actual research questions from within the project. Based on the reflections from all stakeholders and the takeaways from the seminars’ format, the authors introduce an iterative collaboration process. Transdisciplinary research projects can use it to develop the theory-practice interactions further and create a win-win collaboration in a long-term profit for all parties.
... In line with this notion and building upon our experience as course developers and educators, we propose a learning setting where students are encouraged to think outside the "wrong and right" paradigm. The grand societal challenges are highly complex problems with norms and values of various stakeholders conflicting with each other (Blok et al., 2016). Therefore, we insist that it is essential to continuously question the legitimacy of teaching specific mind habits or points of view regarding, for example, sustainability. ...
Chapter
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With entrepreneurship education receiving growing attention in research and practice the question arises what exactly entrepreneurship education’s impact is and should be. There is a lack of discussion on what (different kinds of) entrepreneurship education should aim to achieve, and how entrepreneurship education’s success can be captured. In this chapter, we raise the question: What is relevant for generating which kind of entrepreneurial activity? We call for a stronger competence orientation, underline the importance of an entrepreneurship education ecosystem, and carve out the need for future research in these fields.
... In line with this notion and building upon our experience as course developers and educators, we propose a learning setting where students are encouraged to think outside the "wrong and right" paradigm. The grand societal challenges are highly complex problems with norms and values of various stakeholders conflicting with each other (Blok et al., 2016). Therefore, we insist that it is essential to continuously question the legitimacy of teaching specific mind habits or points of view regarding, for example, sustainability. ...
Chapter
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Computer literacy courses provide opportunities for students to develop skills that are essential for lifelong learning. Many educational institutions in developing countries offer compulsory Information and Communication Technology (ICT) courses to help their first-year students develop these skills. Due to factors such as lockdowns imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some first-year students may not be able to attend these courses in person. This chapter investigates the suitability of an online environment for teaching a Computer Literacy course to first year students with varied demographics. It takes as a case study the delivery of the Computer Literacy course on the University of Namibia (UNAM) Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) over one semester. The course caters to a diverse student population, some of whom come from marginalized backgrounds and have never used a computer before. Using a questionnaire based on the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT), the study used a survey to determine the satisfaction of students and lecturers involved with the course. We also conducted semi-structured interviews to get an in-depth understanding of the actual use and level of satisfaction with Moodle. Results indicate that most students do not have access to ICT devices or the software required for the course. Although all students completed the course without any dropouts, the study also found that the students consistently accessed only two features supported by Moodle. The study recommends that all first-time users take an informal Introduction to Online Learning course before starting the Computer Literacy course. It also recommends that the current course be adapted to fit the context of use and to enhance online teaching of Computer Literacy to first-time computer users at UNAM.
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Nachhaltigkeitsorientiertes Unternehmer*innentum gewinnt – nicht zuletzt ob seiner steigenden Relevanz für die Lösung akuter sozialer und ökologischer Probleme – auch in der Forschung an Bedeutung. Frauen wird hier besonderes Potenzial zugeschrieben, das jedoch bislang noch nicht ausreichend gehoben wird. Enormer Forschungsbedarf liegt daher auf der Schnittstelle „Women-Sustainability-Entrepreneurship“. Da Grundlage jeden unternehmerischen Handelns die Identifikation und Ergreifung unternehmerischer Gelegenheiten ist, soll dies im Mittelpunkt unseres Artikels stehen. Wir führen Elemente der Entrepreneurship-, Nachhaltigkeits- und Gender-Forschung zusammen und stellen vor, wie die Entstehung nachhaltiger, von Frauen entwickelter Geschäftsideen untersucht werden kann. Eine Analyse von Lebensläufen mit besonderem Blick auf die Gründungsgeschichten und der Vergleich unterschiedlicher Orientierungsrahmen mithilfe von narrativen Interviews und der dokumentarischen Methode kann zeigen, wie Frauen nachhaltigkeitsorientierte unternehmerische Gelegenheitsfenster identifizieren und öffnen, um erfolgreiche Nachhaltigkeitsunternehmen zu gründen.
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In this article, we critically discuss the ideal of alignment, unity and harmony in cross-sector partnerships (CSP) for wicked problems like sustainable development. We explore four characteristics of the concepts of identity, unity and difference which are presupposed in the partnership and collaboration literature, and point at their metaphysical origin. Based on our analysis of these four characteristics, we show the limitations of the metaphysical concepts of identity and difference in the case of CSPs for wicked problems like sustainable development
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PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO VINCENT.BLOK@WUR.NL IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE A COPY Because corporate social responsibility (CSR) can be beneficial to both companies and its stakeholders, interest in factors that support CSR performance has grown in recent years. A thorough integration of CSR in core business processes is particularly important for achieving effective long-term CSR practices. Here, we explored the individual CSR-related competencies that support CSR implementation in a corporate context. First, a systematic literature review was performed in which relevant scientific articles were identified and analyzed. Next, 28 CSR directors and managers were interviewed. The literature review complemented with interview data resulted in the following eight distinct CSR-related competencies: (1) Anticipating CSR challenges; (2) Understanding CSR-rel-evant systems and subsystems; (3) Understanding CSR-relevant standards; (4) CSR management competencies, including (4a) Leading CSR programs, (4b) Managing CSR programs, and (4c) Identifying and realizing CSR-related business opportunities; (5) Realizing CSR-supportive interpersonal processes; (6) Employing CSR-supportive personal characteristics and attitudes; (7) Personal value-driven competencies, including (7a) Ethical normative competencies, (7b) Balancing personal ethical values and business objectives, and (7c) Realizing self-regulated CSR-related behaviors and active involvement; and (8) Reflecting on personal CSR views and experiences. Based on these results, implications for further research on this topic, as well as implications for practitioners, are discussed.
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What promotes action competence for sustainability? This question is phenomenologically explored through researching in depth the life stories of three Swedish young adults who for several years have limited their own ecological footprints, led environmental initiatives of activist character, engaged in ecosystem protection, and participated in advanced non-activism in the public sphere. Narrative analyses of their life stories have resulted in six common themes: emotions creating a desire to change conditions; a core of values and contrasting perspectives; action permeation; feeling confident and competent with what one can contribute; trust and faith from and in adults; and outsidership and belongingness.
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