ChapterPDF Available

The PRME Curriculum Tree: A Framework for Responsible Management Education in Undergraduate Business Degree Programmes


Abstract and Figures

Events such as the credit and banking crisis alongside general global corporate social responsibility and sustainability concerns have led to questions as to the legitimacy and purpose of business in society. Many are now calling for a new approach, one that eschews the profit orientated exploitative business practices of the past for a new model of ‘responsible management’. Indeed, many business organisations are already moving beyond social and environmental compliance and fundamentally rethinking the role their business should play in light of broader societal changes (Barkemeyer, Holt, Preuss, & Tsang, 2011). In addition to this business leaders themselves are increasingly aware of the need to embrace the principles of sustainable development (Elkington, 1997; Porter & Kramer, 2006). There is then a recognition that far from a niche area of business, sustainability and sustainable development are considered global megatrends in the 21st century which result in profound implications for corporations interactions with society and the natural environment (KPMG, 2012). Despite the evolution of knowledge on responsible management, there is still the important question of how sustainable development is operationalised in a business context.
Content may be subject to copyright.
The PRME Curriculum Tree:
A Framework for Responsible Management Education in Undergraduate Business Degree
This chapter introduces the PRME Curriculum Tree, a conceptual framework which seeks to
provide a blueprint for business school curriculum design that integrates learning, teaching and
assessment strategies that engage students of all disciplines with the Principles of Responsible
Management Education (PRME), the UN Global Compact and the Sustainable Development
Goals (SDGs). The framework is built on the premise that sustainability and responsible
management topics can function to build a bridge across disciplines and integrate the business
curriculum as a whole by promoting holistic understanding and systemic thinking. The key to the
framework is that it seeks to integrate and complement existing curricular structures that have
evolved within business schools over many years. As such business school academics can use
the framework to inform the development of curriculum and approaches to teaching that promote
responsible management education (RME).
Events such as the credit and banking crisis alongside global corporate social responsibility
(CSR) and sustainability concerns have led to questions as to the legitimacy and purpose of
business in society. Many are now calling for a new approach, one that eschews the profit-
oriented exploitative business practices of the past for a new model of ‘responsible management’.
Indeed, many business organisations are already moving beyond social and environmental
compliance and fundamentally rethinking the role their business should play in light of broader
societal changes (Barkemeyer, Holt, Preuss & Tsang, 2011). In addition to this, business leaders
themselves are increasingly aware of the need to embrace the principles of sustainable
development (Elkington, 1997; Porter & Kramer, 2006). There is then a recognition that far from a
niche area of business, sustainability and sustainable development are considered global
megatrends in the 21st Century, which results in profound implications for corporate interactions
with society and the natural environment (KPMG, 2012). Despite the evolution of knowledge on
responsible management, there is still the important question of how sustainable development is
operationalised in a business context.
The acknowledgement, and increased awareness of sustainability and sustainable development
from corporations and business support organisations, raises the question as to whether current
management education is adequate to equip and develop future leaders with the requisite skills to
meet these new demands (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014; Colby, Ehrlich, Sullivan, & Dolle, 2011;
Datar, Garvin, & Cullen, 2011; Weybrecht, 2010). Many business leaders are suggesting that
business graduates lack knowledge in the area of sustainable business and responsible
management (Jabbour, Sarkis, & Govindan, 2013; Peoples, 2009).
At the same time, evidence suggests that there is growing demand from business students for a
more globalised curriculum and focus on CSR initiatives within management programmes (Haski-
Leventhal, 2012; Leveson & Joiner, 2014). Whilst there are a growing number of publications
discussing these issues (Cornuel & Hommel, 2012; Morsing & Rovira, 2011; Muff et al., 2013),
the core of academic business teaching activities remains largely immune to the challenge of
addressing broad societal concerns (Hommel, Painter-Morland, & Wang, 2013).
Some business schools are undertaking programmes to realign their curriculum, research and
engagement activities around the core concept of responsible management and thus increase the
range and depth of such topics. However, despite increasing interest in responsible management
education (RME) driven by initiatives such as the UN Principles for Responsible Management
Education (PRME) and the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, deep and holistic integration of
such issues into undergraduate business school curricula remains rare. Whilst there is emerging
research and increased information as to how business schools are seeking to integrate, combine
and synthesize certain elements of responsible management into business education (Kelley &
Nahser, 2014), there is little research that seeks to develop more holistic, programme level, whole
curriculum based approaches (Christensen, Peirce, Hartman, Hoffman, & Carrier, 2007; Doh &
Tashman, 2012).
The PRME Curriculum Tree is a conceptual framework which sets out a blueprint for business
school curriculum design that integrates learning, teaching and assessment strategies that
engage students of all disciplines with the PRME and responsible management agenda. In this
respect it speaks to PRME principle 1 ‘Purpose’ by developing the capabilities of students to be
future generators of sustainable value for business and society at large and to work for an
inclusive and sustainable global economy. The framework is built on the premise that
sustainability and responsible management topics can build bridges across disciplines and
integrate the business curriculum as a whole by promoting holistic understanding and systemic
thinking addressing the criticism that most business school’s curricula only address responsible
management issues in isolation (Smith & Alexander, 2013). The framework seeks to
operationalise and embed the six principles of PRME (purpose, values, methods, research,
partnerships, and dialogue) and ten UN Global Compact principles articulated under the themes
of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption into undergraduate business curricula.
The key to the framework is that it seeks to integrate and complement existing curricular
structures that have evolved within business schools over many years. The analogy of the tree is
useful and it provides multiple metaphors for explaining the relationships between business and
society, whilst allowing for the articulation of core concepts and addressing discipline specific
The PRME Curriculum Tree
The framework is broken down into four main levels which represent elements of the tree: roots,
trunk, branches and leaves. The roots of the PRME Curriculum Tree represent grounding,
impact, history and connectivity. The role of business in society can be articulated and critiqued
along with the dominant shareholder value perspective held by many students arriving in a
business school. They are exposed to a range of different perspectives and encouraged to think
critically about the relationship between business and society. The prevailing context is why
business exists, as well as why the challenges that society faces are relevant to business and the
role of business in creating, but also solving these problems. Here PRME Principle 2 ‘Values’ is
demonstrated by incorporating values of global social responsibility into curricula.
The trunk represents core concepts, theory, strength and dependability. Here the principles and
norms of business can be examined and critiqued. The focus is on what business does, how it
operates and the functional hard and soft skills that managers and leaders require day to day.
Students are challenged to articulate what responsible management looks like across a range of
business and management job roles, functions and departments. For example, what is the role of
the Human Resources (HR) Department of an organisation from a responsible management
perspective? Here principles’ 5 ‘Partnership’ and 6 ‘Dialogue’ of PRME can be demonstrated
through schools’ interaction with managers of businesses and other stakeholders to articulate real
world challenges to students.
The branches of the tree allow for range and breadth, the exploration of multiple pathways, and
discipline specific issues. Here the focus is on how do, and how should, business disciplines and
functions deal with responsible management. For example, how are material sustainability risks
identified, examined and addressed in business strategy or operations. Students are challenged
to design strategic responses to a range of sustainability and societal challenges. Here PRME
principle 4 ‘Research’ can be used to convey contemporary approaches to meeting sustainability
Finally, the leaves of the tree represent innovation, new opportunities and future developments.
Here the focus is on where are the opportunities for business and where should business be
positioned in relation to society in the future. Students can be challenged to imagine new
business models for sustainable development, responsible innovation pathways and social
business that integrate with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Figure 1
depicts the PRME Curriculum Tree visually and the next sections describe the approach of each
stage in more detail.
Figure 1: The PRME Curriculum Tree
Roots of the Curriculum Tree
The roots of the PRME curriculum would be taught during the first year of undergraduate studies.
Many schools use this first year to introduce students to the key elements of business and
communicate core competencies. However, introduction to management courses can prove
problematic for business school faculty, students and curriculum designers eager to include as
broad a range of topics as possible. In many business programmes, Principles of Management or
Introduction to Organisational Behaviour and Business Strategy courses are the only
management classes that students complete in their undergraduate programme (Christopher,
Laasch, & Roberts, 2016).
Introductory courses, however, are an essential component of RME, as in many cases they
represent the first impression for students as to what business and management is and should
be. They have been described as the foundation stones upon which undergraduate business
education is built (Thompson, Purdy, & Fandt, 1997). In this respect, they play a central role in
creating a vision as to what ‘good’ managerial behaviour is. Furthermore, research suggests that
an introductory Business and Society course can significantly accelerate and improve the rate of
moral development of some students (Boyd, 1981; Glenn, 1992). Despite this, not all business
schools include such a course in the first year of their business and management programmes
(Hope, 2016).
With this is mind there are a number of key theoretical perspectives that introductory courses
need to communicate to aspiring business and management practitioners. Firstly, management
education needs to go beyond communicating the functional components of business and
management and encourage students to embed reflections on sustainability, responsibility and
ethics (Rasche & Gilbert, 2015). The focus should be on why business exists; what is its role in
society; how does it interface with the wider world; and what are the main environmental issues
that business leaders face. Here students can be introduced to the 10 principles of the UN Global
Compact which are grouped under the themes of ‘human rights’, ‘labour’,environment’ and ‘anti-
Courses can be designed to help students open up their understanding of the relationships
between business and society through a focus on responsibility. Again, many business and
management programmes introduce the concept of ethical behaviour through business ethics
courses much later in the curriculum (Hope, 2016). Encouraging students to explore such
questions and exposing them to a broad range of views and opinions as to the purpose and
nature of business would help to break from the dominant paradigm that many business students
believe holds true, i.e., that business is all about profit maximisation. Business and management
practice does have underlying principles that tend to stay relatively constant and thus serve as
foundations, or roots, to academic theory.
The roots of responsible management can be articulated in a number of ways and at different
levels. Firstly, the main issues encountered by business from ethical, responsibility and
sustainability perspectives are debated. Next, students can be introduced to the specific drivers of
a company’s responsible management activities both internal and external and how these change
overtime and relate to strategy. Finally, the inhibitors, criticisms and challenges encountered in
responsible management can be introduced and provide context before students explore how
these impact on specific business areas and functions.
Trunk of the Curriculum Tree
The trunk of the PRME curriculum tree should be taught primarily in the second year of study.
Students should now have the sufficient grounding as to the nature of business, but also the
necessary critical view of business and management that enables them to bring a more open and
free thinking perspective to their studies. This allows students to build upon the underlying
principles of business articulated during the ‘roots’ stage of the curriculum tree whilst at the same
time empowering them to debate, challenge and, where needed, refine and revise them. The
focus at this stage is on the core functions and competencies of those functional business areas.
The core functional areas are those that are crucial to every business regardless of its size or
speciality. These areas include human resources, finance and accounting, marketing, customer
service, distribution and purchasing, administration and IT support. The focus here is on what
business does across the range of business and management functions and what this means for
responsible business and management. Whilst CSR practices are taught in many, if not most,
business and management programmes and embraced by many corporations, the specific
contributions of professions such as HR, operations management, accounting, and strategic
management professionals have often been overlooked (Gond, Igalens, Swaen, & Akremi, 2011).
It is also at this stage that the roles of these core competencies are articulated and debated in
relation to the principles of responsible management. Core competencies are the main strengths
or the strategic advantages that business upholds. They represent the combination of pooled
knowledge and technical capabilities that enable a business to become competitive (Prahalad &
Hamel, 1990). Traditional core competences are communicated to students but also debated and
critiqued in recognition of the view that responsible management necessitates competences
distinct from those traditionally required (Laasch & Moosmayer, 2015). Whilst some core
competences may be specific to a given discipline or functional area, it is likely that there are
many which are generic and universally relevant.
Often, business schools create specific courses under titles such as ‘sustainability’, ‘business
ethics’ or ‘corporate social responsibility’, however, there is an opportunity here to embed the key
principles of ethics, responsibility and sustainability into existing courses whilst reminding
students of the ways in which different functional areas of business interact. Once students have
a deep theoretical and practical understanding of the functional areas of business organisations,
there is a chance to specialise and develop a fuller understanding of what responsible
management means from a disciplinary perspective. This understanding is facilitated in the next
stage of the framework.
Branches of the Curriculum Tree
Building on the trunk of the learning tree, the branches allow for range and breadth, the
exploration of multiple pathways, and discipline specific issues. They also allow for a more explicit
and hands-on approach to learning. This process would begin during the second year of study
and be consolidated in the final year. Here the focus may be on how can and how should
business disciplines and functions deal with responsible management issues. For example, how
are material sustainability risks identified, examined and addressed in Business Strategy or
Operations? How do responsible HR issues differ from traditional perspectives of HR? How can
marketing departments effectively communicate social and environmental business performance
and develop responsible marketing strategies? During this stage in the PRME curriculum,
students are challenged to design strategic responses to a range of sustainability and societal
challenges and adopt a more hands-on, experiential approach to learning.
One example may be the move towards sustainable supply chain management as over the last
few decades there has been growing pressure on business to give further attention to
environmental and resource implications of the products and services that they offer (Kleindorfer,
Singhal, & Wassenhove, 2005). This has led to a corresponding need for the revision of the
operations management curriculum in business schools and professional training courses to
include sustainable operations management and business development among other responsible
management topics (Gunasekaran & Ngai, 2012). Similarly, strategic management also has a
part to play in the responsible management of organisations. Many companies lack a strategic
approach to CSR and tend to follow unsystematic procedures resulting in reduced operational
efficiency (Hahn, 2012). Sustainable and responsible strategic management involves a set of
processes and strategies such as strategy formation, strategic analysis and strategy
implementation that are economically, socially and environmentally focussed (W. E. Stead &
Stead, 2013).
At this stage, there is a danger that students will form a silo mentality as many discipline-specific
courses and the teaching materials that accompany them tend to focus on discipline specific
issues (Dyllick, 2015). Furthermore, many ethics, responsibility and sustainability textbooks tend
to take a rather generic focus. Some more recent business and management textbooks, however,
are attempting to articulate what responsible business and management look like from a
functional perspective. For example Laasch & Conway’s Principles of Responsible Management
(2014) offers a view of responsible management from a practice and functional area perspective
whilst integrating the different disciplines into a holistic fashion. The branches of the curriculum
tree allow students to specialise in a specific area and gain a more in-depth understanding of
ethics, responsibility and sustainability within and across business functions. The next step is to
allow students to explore contemporary issues and co-envision the future of business from a
responsibility perspective.
Leaves of the Curriculum Tree
The way in which we do business is changing rapidly and this represents a challenge for future
managers and leaders in understanding the behaviours and competences required to create a
fairer society and more responsible business practices. Here, it is important to introduce students
to contemporary issues in business and management, to current innovations, new opportunities
and future prospects. The focus is on where are the opportunities for business and where will
business sit in relation to society in the future. With the solid foundations in place, business
schools and curriculum designers can explore new topics and introduce students to innovations in
responsible business. This is important as it has been recognised that the fields of corporate
responsibility, CSR and sustainability are not static, but rather evolving constantly driven mainly
by businesses seeking to meet the changing needs of the market and society (Department for
Business Innovation and Skills, 2014). Students can be challenged to imagine new business
models for sustainable development, responsible innovation pathways and social business.
Such innovations may include the shift away from a ‘linear’ production and consumption model
towards a ‘circular’ one based on the re-use, sharing of, and re-manufacture of resources, and
waste reduction or energy recovery techniques. Another area is the development of responsible
business models, ones that turn to a service-based model of provision which enables customers
to cut the cost of ownership that can arise from depreciation, operation and maintenance of
capital assets. For example, new consumer models such as car clubs or peer-to-peer leasing
enable customers to extract value from under-utilised assets (The Economist Intelligence Unit,
2013). These topics could be offered in elective courses that students could choose based on
their interest or field of specialisation. The leaves analogy serves to demonstrate the
unpredictability of business and management practice and enable curriculum designers to
introduce students to novel perspectives leading to an understanding of the need to cope with
uncertainty and change.
The role of pedagogy
When considering any curriculum development activities such as the PRME Curriculum Tree,
thought must be given to the role of pedagogy in delivering learning and teaching content. Here
PRME principle 3 ‘Method’ is considered through the creation of educational frameworks,
materials, processes and environments that enable effective learning experiences for responsible
leadership. It has been suggested that there are three critical levers for change in RME:
transformative learning, issue-centred or problem-based learning, and reflective practice and
experiential learning (Baden & Parkes, 2013; Muff, 2013).
Transformative learning seeks to expand limited or problematic terms of reference into
perspectives that provoke exploration into more future-orientated, holistic and responsible
solutions (Erhard, Jensen, & Granger, 2013). For example, many undergraduate students begin
introductory management courses with some experiential understanding of management as a
practice (Wright & Gilmore, 2012). They may have been previously involved in paid employment
or will have interacted with organisations in some way as consumers, students or participants in a
group of some kind. Due to these experiences many students approach management as a
common-sense practice, something that people just ‘do’ (Whetten, 2007). In truth, management is
a practice informed by theory and as Wright and Gilmore (2012) suggest, the realisation of this
can prove transformative for first-year undergraduate students.
Issue-centred or problem-based learning requires a transdisciplinary, holistic, systems-orientated
approach to problems and is orientated around issues rather than subjects. Here is the
interconnectivity of social, economic and environmental problems that is stressed in order to
develop students’ abilities to lead on complex decision-making processes typical of ethical,
responsible and sustainability issues (Muff, 2013). Such problems and issues are clearly
articulated and addressed by the UN Global Compact principles and the SDG’s giving further
weight to the argument for their integration into business and management education. Reflective
practice and experiential learning provides students with practical, experiential learning
accompanied by guided reflection which enables them to learn from their experiences (Dyllick,
2015). As such is it important to recognise the role of different pedagogical approaches in
enabling students to gain a balanced understanding of social, economic and environmental
Alongside these principles, the way in which students’ learning and understanding are assessed
is an important consideration. An institution’s assessment practices are a reflection of its values
and its assessment practices should further the aims and purposes of the higher education
institution (Astin, 2012). It follows that a business school committed to RME should practice
responsible assessment and evaluation practices and that responsible management knowledge,
skills and competencies are assessed alongside more traditional business learning and built into
formal learning outcomes. Responsible management can be treated like every other learning
outcome in that it is the responsibility of the business school itself to ensure as many students as
possible meet the outcome (Vendemia & Kos, 2013). Building on the notion of transformative,
issue-centred, and reflective practice-focussed learning, where possible assessments should
provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in a practical, holistic and
innovative manner, such as producing strategy or consultancy reports focussing on real-world
Opportunities and Challenges
Many opportunities and challenges are encountered when attempting to redesign undergraduate
business curricula to incorporate principles of RME. The PRME Curriculum Tree has been
conceived as a vehicle through which to exploit these opportunities whilst overcoming the
challenges. One opportunity is that the incorporation of RME closes the gap that some business
academics and practitioners have suggested exists in what business students are taught and
what they experience when they begin work in industry (David, David & David, 2011). Alongside
this is the criticism that traditional business and management curricula revolves almost
exclusively around established principles (Binks, 2016).
The PRME Curriculum Tree’s roots, trunk, branches and leaves framework ensures that core
principles are taught to establish the theoretical grounding necessary for academic study whilst
allowing for specialisation, flexibility and innovation in the latter stages. Opportunities also arise
from the introduction of pedagogical techniques that are more disposed to the teaching of ethics,
responsibility and sustainability topics. The use of transformative, issue- or problem-based
learning can bring opportunities for students to work with social entrepreneurs and responsible
business professionals through experiential learning programmes, which can provide students
with inspirational role models and positive social learning opportunities (Baden & Parkes, 2013).
From a societal perspective, business and management schools can play a transformational role
by educating (present and future) decision makers, leaders and entrepreneurs in ethics,
responsibility and sustainability (R. Lozano, Lozano, Mulder, Huisingh, & Waas, 2013).
The challenges that arise when seeking to re-orientate business and management education
around the principles of responsible management are both practical and ideological. Space in the
business school curriculum is already limited and creating more space for responsible
management topics and subjects can be problematic (Reynolds & Dang, 2015). The PRME
Curriculum Tree does not necessarily require the inclusion of new topics or subjects into business
school programmes, rather it is attempting to provide a framework though which to incorporate
key principles into existing courses. In this respect, it is more of a philosophy than an agenda.
Many business schools also face the challenge of not having sufficient expertise in the areas of
ethics, responsibly and sustainability issues. It is here that the PRME Curriculum Tree can assist
in providing a framework that faculty can use as a starting point through which to begin
embedding responsible management within their programmes and courses.
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a need to re-orientate mainstream business
education to incorporate the principles of responsible management and to better reflect societal
trends as well as changing industry priorities. Whilst many business schools are seeking to
embed ethics, responsibility and sustainability into their undergraduate curricula, many still have a
long way to go. One of the barriers to the integration of the PRME principles across management
programmes is the lack of a common framework though which to do so. The result is that each
institution adopts its own approach to the problem which takes time and resources that are often
scarce. It also makes it difficult for the academy at large to ensure that best practices are followed
and replicated across the sector. The PRME Curriculum Tree has been designed to articulate an
integrated framework for developing RME in business schools and other higher education
institutions. It is not meant to be prescriptive in terms of what should or should not be included in
business and management curricula, but rather to provide some core principles that may be
considered at different stages of study. In doing so, it can be used as a vehicle through which to
encourage debate among management educators and curriculum designers. It can also provide a
framework for helping faculty across disciplines coordinate, strategize and plan for effective
integration of RME into the business and management curricula.
Whilst primarily focussed here on undergraduate education, the overall philosophy of the
Curriculum Tree is also highly relevant and applicable for other segments of management
education such as postgraduate, executive development and doctoral studies. In addition to this
the Tree metaphor provides also a useful platform and tool for enhancing external dialogue and
partnerships between schools and businesses and other stakeholders, on the new role of
business in society, sustainable development, responsible management and the advancement of
the SDGs.
Astin, A. W. (2012). Assessment for excellence: The philosophy and practice of assessment and
evaluation in higher education.
Baden, D., & Parkes, C. (2013). Experiential learning: inspiring the business leaders of tomorrow.
Journal of Management Development, 32(3), 295308.
Barkemeyer, R., Holt, D., Preuss, L., & Tsang, S. (2011). What happened to the “Development” in
sustainable development? Business guidelines two decades after Brundtland. Sustainable
Development, 22(1), 1532.
Binks, M. (2016). Towards an integrated curriculum. EFMD Blog. Available at:
Boyd, D. P. (1981). Improving ethical awareness through the Business and Society course.
Business & Society, 20(2), 2731.
Carroll, A. B., & Buchholtz, A. (2014). Business and Society: Ethics, Sustainability, and
Stakeholder Management. Cengage Learning.
Christensen, L. J., Peirce, E., Hartman, L. P., Hoffman, W. M., & Carrier, J. (2007). Ethics, CSR,
and sustainability education in the Financial Times Top 50 Global Business Schools:
Baseline data and future research directions. Journal of Business. Ethics, 73(4), 347368.
Christopher, E., Laasch, O., & Roberts, J. (2016). New approaches to introduction to
management courses. Journal of Management Education, 40(2), 223225.
Colby, A., Ehrlich, T., Sullivan, W. M., & Dolle, J. R. (2011). Rethinking undergraduate business
education: Liberal learning for the profession.(rest of citation?)
Cornuel, E., & Hommel, U. (2012). Business schools as a positive force for fostering societal
change. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 31(2), 289312.
Datar, S. M., Garvin, D. A., & Cullen, P. G. (2011). Rethinking the MBA: business education at a
crossroads. Journal of Management Development, 30(5), 451462.
David, F. R., David, M. E., & David, F. R. (2011). What are business schools doing for business
today? Business Horizons, 54(1), 5162.
Department for Business Innovation and Skills. (2014, April 2). Good for business & society:
Government response to call for views on corporate responsibility.
Doh, J. P., & Tashman, P. (2012). Half a world away: The integration and assimilation of
corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and sustainable development in business
school curricula. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 21(3),
Dyllick, T. L. (2015). Responsible management education for a sustainable world. Journal of
Management Development, 34(1), 16–33.
Erhard, W., Jensen, M. C., & Granger, K. L. (2013). Creating leaders: An
ontological/phenomenological model. The Handbook for Teaching ….
Glenn, J. R., Jr. (1992). Can a business and society course affect the ethical judgment of future
managers? J. Bus. Ethics, 11(3), 217223.
Gond, J.-P., Igalens, J., Swaen, V., & Akremi, El, A. (2011). The human resources contribution to
responsible leadership: An exploration of the CSR–HR Interface. J. Bus. Ethics, 98(S1), 115
Gunasekaran, A., & Ngai, E. W. T. (2012). The future of operations management: An outlook and
analysis. International Journal of Production Economics, 135(2), 687701.
Hahn, R. (2012). ISO 26000 and the standardization of strategic management processes for
sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Bus. Strat. Environ., 22(7), 442455.
Haski-Leventhal, D. (2012). Corporate responsibility and responsible management education in
the eyes of MBA students. Macquarie Graduate School of Management.
Hommel, U., Painter-Morland, M., & Wang, J. (2013). Gradualism prevails and perception outbids
substance. In EFMD Insights into Sustainability and Social Responsibility (1st ed., pp. 119–
122). European Foundation for Management Development in association with GSE
Hope, A. (2016). Beyond Business Ethics: Sustainability and Responsible Management in
Business School Undergraduate Programme Curricula. Manuscript in preparation.
Jabbour, A. B. L. de S., Sarkis, J., & Govindan, K. (2013). Understanding the process of greening
of Brazilian business schools. Journal of Cleaner Production, 61, 2535.
Kelley, S., & Nahser, R. (2014). Developing sustainable strategies: Foundations, method, and
pedagogy. J. Bus. Ethics, 123(4), 631–644.
Kleindorfer, P. R., Singhal, K., & Wassenhove, L. N. (2005). Sustainable operations
management. Production and Operations Management, 14(4), 482492.
KPMG. (2012). Expect the unexpected: Building business value in a changing world. KPMG
Laasch, O., & Conaway, R. (2014). Principles of responsible management: Glocal sustainability,
responsibility, and ethics. Cengage Learning.
Laasch, O., & Moosmayer, D. (2015). Competences for responsible management education: A
structured literature review. CRME Working Papers.
Leveson, L., & Joiner, T. A. (2014). Exploring corporate social responsibility values of millennial
job-seeking students. Education + Training, 56(1), 2134.
Lozano, R., Lozano, F. J., Mulder, K., Huisingh, D., & Waas, T. (2013). Advancing higher
education for sustainable development: international insights and critical reflections. Journal
of Cleaner Production, 48, 3–9.
Morsing, M., & Rovira, A. S. (2011). Business schools and their contribution to society. SAGE.
Muff, K. (2013). Developing globally responsible leaders in business schools. Journal of
Management Development, 32(5), 487507.
Muff, K., Dyllick, T. L., Drewell, M., North, J., Shrivastava, P., & Haertle, J. (2013). Management
education for the world. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Peoples, R. (2009). Preparing today for a sustainable future. Journal of Management Education,
33(3), 376383.
Prahalad, C. K., & Hamel, G. (1990). Organization of transnational corporations. Harvard
Business Review, 7991.
Rasche, A., & Gilbert, D. U. (2015). Decoupling responsible management education why
business schools may not walk their talk. Journal of Management Inquiry, 24(3), 239252.
Reynolds, S. J., & Dang, C. T. (2015). Are the “customers” of business ethics courses satisfied?
An examination of one source of business ethics education legitimacy. Business & Society.
Smith, K. T., & Alexander, J. J. (2013). Which CSR-related headings do fortune 500 companies
use on their websites? Business Communication Quarterly, 76(2), 155171.
Stead, W. E., & Stead, J. G. (2013). Sustainable strategic management. Greenleaf Press.
The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2013).
Supply on demand: adapting to change in consumption and delivery models (pp. 1–25).
Thompson, T. A., Purdy, J. M., & Fandt, P. M. (1997). Building a strong foundation: Using a
computer simulation in an introductory management course. Journal of Management
Education, 21(3), 418434.
Vendemia, W. G., & Kos, A. J. (2013). Impact of undergraduate business curriculum on ethical
judgment. Business Education Innovation.
Weybrecht, G. (2010). The sustainable MBA. John Wiley & Sons.
Whetten, D. A. (2007). Principles of effective course design: What I wish I had known about
learning-centered teaching 30 years ago. Journal of Management Education, 31(3), 339357.
Wright, A. L., & Gilmore, A. (2012). Threshold concepts and conceptions: Student learning in
introductory management courses. Journal of Management Education, 36(5), 614635.
Dr Alex Hope
Newcastle Business School
Northumbria University
City Campus East 1
Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)191 227 3039
Mobile: +44(0)796 014 0567
Personal Website:
Linkedin Profile:
Twitter: @DrSustainable
Dr Alex Hope is Senior Lecturer in Business Ethics at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria
University. He undertakes teaching, research and consultancy on responsible business,
sustainable development, CSR, energy policy and business ethics. He is co-convener of the
Responsible Business research group and leads the school’s Responsible Management
Education project.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
PRINCIPLES OF RESPONSIBLE MANAGEMENT offers an international, scientifically sound, and strictly practice-related perspective. It is the first official textbook of the United Nations for the Principles for Responsible Management Education academic network, and a reference book for companies of the United Nations Global Compact Initiative. It is a primary text for traditional business and society, business ethics, corporate social responsibility, and sustainability courses, or may serve as a practitioner handbook. Contributors are renowned academic professionals in their respective chapter topics as well as distinguished business practitioners who contribute highly relevant practice cases. The focus of the book is on the main issues encountered in the three aspects of responsible management: sustainability, responsibility, and ethics.
Full-text available
Introduction to management courses present particular challenges for faculty, students, and business program curriculum. In many programs, Principles of Management or Introduction to Organizational Behavior courses are the only management classes (other than Strategy) that business students complete in their undergraduate or graduate program. As such, introductory courses are learners’ first, and in some cases principal, impression of what business management is and should be, thus playing a central role in creating a vision of what is “good” managerial behavior.
Full-text available
While the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) are a very positive development in the horizon of management education over the last decade, there are still many significant challenges for engaging the mind of the manager in ways that will foster the values of PRME and the UN Global Compact. Responsible management education must address three foundational challenges in business education if it is to actualize the aspirations of PRME: (1) it must confront the cognitional myth that knowing is like looking, (2) it must move beyond mere analysis to systems thinking, and (3) it must transition from a values-neutral stance to a values-driven stance. Using Developing Sustainable Strategies, an MBA practicum in the Sustainable Management Concentration at DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business as a case study, this article identifies the ways in which Pragmatic Inquiry can address these challenges. The method of Pragmatic Inquiry prepares students to become responsible managers, to develop sustainable strategies, and to be creators of shared value. Built from the philosophical foundations of American pragmatism and Bernard Lonergan's critical realism, Pragmatic Inquiry is an effective method and pedagogy for responsible management education.
Working Paper
Sustainability, responsibility, and ethics (SRE) have become significant drivers for change in business with the term responsible management as an umbrella term describing managerial practices embracing SRE. Responsible management implies that being a competent manager now necessitates competences distinct from the ones traditionally required. An emerging literature on competences for S, R, and E has described competences for each of the three in a separated fashion. Educational and managerial practice, however, commonly integrates SRE as one ‘inter-discipline’. In this paper we unearth a competence-portfolio for the responsible management inter-discipline through a structured review of the competences for SRE literatures. Extending the KSA competence by the distinction between independent and interdependent competences, we find six integrative domains of competences related to ‘knowledge(know)’, ‘analysis (think)’, ‘action(do)’, ‘interaction (relate)’, ‘character (be)’and ‘self-adaptation (become)’.These domains together form a competence portfolio as basis for the creation of particular competence profiles for research and practice on educational design, professional development, and human resource management.
Though there are many factors that contribute to the perceived legitimacy of business ethics education, this research focuses on one factor that is given great attention both formally and informally in many business schools: student satisfaction with the course. To understand the nature of student satisfaction, the authors draw from multiple theories with central claims relating (met) expectations with satisfaction. The authors then compare student expectations of business ethics courses with instructor objectives and discover that business ethics courses are not necessarily designed to meet student expectations. The authors speculate that this general mismatch between student expectations and instructor objectives has material consequences. As one example, the authors analyze student evaluations from three business schools and identify a “business ethics course effect”: a negative association between business ethics courses and student evaluations. The authors discuss the implications for business ethics education of a situation where pedagogical objectives (“Educate!”) and market prescriptions (“Satisfy!”) point in different directions.
Purpose – The reforms in business schools based on the Ford and Carnegie Foundation reports (Pierson, 1959; Gordon and Howell, 1959) have been very successful in embedding management in a research-based body of knowledge, thereby elevating the academic status of business administration. These reforms, however, did nothing toward making management more socially trustworthy or management education more responsible. In the light of the pressing economic, social and environmental crises the world is facing, the feeling is spreading that not only business and economics but business schools also need to change fundamentally, if they want to be a provider of solutions to these crises and thereby keep and regain their legitimacy. The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical analysis of the fundamental challenges facing the role of business schools and their contributions in the areas of education, research, managing faculty, and role of the business school. It presents suggestions what responsible management education for a sustainable world could and should look like. Design/methodology/approach – The paper builds on the existing literature on the needed changes in business schools and has been written as part of a large international project, the 50+20 initiative (, which was developed by a broad coalition of organizations with the World Business School Council for Sustainable Business (WBSCSB), the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) and the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) at its core and 16 business schools and organizations from all around the world as supporters (Muff et al., 2013). Findings – Business schools need to transform themselves fundamentally, if they want to be a provider of solutions to the crises of responsibility and sustainability and thereby keep and regain their legitimacy. Originality/value – The paper pulls together insights from a diverse area of literature and develops practical conclusions.
Business schools are arguably some of the most influential institutions in contemporary society, heavily influencing the way much socioeconomic activity is conducted. The education they provide is an important theme to be considered in its own right—and perhaps even challenged. This exciting book explores the role of business schools in contemporary global society through 3 key dimensions: How business school legitimacy has been challenged by the recent economic crisis and corporate scandals; How business schools contribute to shaping and transforming business conduct; and How business schools, past and present, develop their identities to face the challenges presented by the ongoing globalization process. Combing perspectives from business school Deans from around the world, as well as scholars and business leaders, this book presents a unique discussion of the current and future challenges facing business schools today.