Universities as Learning Organizations for Sustainability? The Task of Climate Protection
University of Hamburg, Chair of Capital Markets and Management; Leuphana University, Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM)
Leuphana University of Lueneburg - Dept. of Sustainability Sciences
May 26, 2012
Leal Filho, W. (Ed.) (2010): Universities and Climate Change: Introducing Climate Change at University Programmes. Climate Change Management Vol. 1. Berlin: Springer, 179-192
Purpose: For two decades the Leuphana University of Lüneburg addresses socio-ecological issues in research, education and administration. To realize projects like “Agenda 21 and University of Lüneburg” (1999), “Sustainable University” (2004) and its mission statement of “Carbon Neutral University” (2007) entails non-trivial organizational changes. Creating an authentic “Carbon Neutral University” induces multi-level learning and decision problems within the organization. Concepts of organizational learning are considered as most promising approaches to analyze and understand sustainability oriented projects.
Design/methodology/approach: Past, present and future sustainability projects are explored. An organizational learning perspective is applied to identify specific phases and mechanisms of organizational developments towards realizing the university’s mission statements. Empirical facts are discussed against the theoretical background of organizational learning.
Findings: From an organizational learning perspective, formalized and shared knowledge are necessary but insufficient preconditions for complex sustainability related activities in universities. If universities follow demanding mission statements they have to continuously trigger individuals’ willingness and ability to learn, generate new kinds of knowledge and contribute to organizational problem solving.
Originality/value: A conceptual perspective is developed for organizational learning in complex fields like sustainable development.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: organizational learning, change management, sustainable development, carbon neutral university, photovoltaic
JEL Classification: I20, L30
Date posted: May 27, 2012