Between criticism and optimism: The derailment and rehabilitation of business schools

G Nonet, Afrodita Dobreva, L.C.P.M. Meijs

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Despite the warnings of UN Secretary-General António Guterres about the climate emergency and the debt owed to young people, management is currently taught as if the global sustainability crisis is not of an existential nature. In connection to Agenda 2030, the commitments made in Paris and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, this chapter examines the responsibility of business schools. Given that business schools were created to produce obedient business servants who would blindly follow the corporate path, one could question whether they are capable of reversing this co-dependent relationship. Will they be able to shift their focus away from generating blind followers and confederates of destructive industry practices to take the lead and shape the new (and very much needed) generation of business leaders needed to achieve the current sustainability targets? In order to answer this question, we examine current educational practices and compare the current (outdated) model to a new approach to education that seeks to encourage students from the perspective of developing head, heart, hands, and soul. We argue that the multidisciplinary nature of business schools does indeed equip them to take a leading role in this shift. To do so, however, they must redefine their position in relation to the broader context. As is the case for the relationship between businesses and the community, the first step for a business school should be to shift the focus away from the individual student and towards an embedded view of the student within multiple contexts of wellbeing: individual, collective and planetary.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBusiness Schools, Leadership and Sustainable Development Goals
Subtitle of host publicationThe Future of Responsible Management Education
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781000831740
ISBN (Print)9781032156026
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 selection and editorial matter, Lars Moratis and Frans Melissen; individual chapters, the contributors. All rights reserved.

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