Sustainability management teaching resources and the challenge of balancing planet, people, and profits

J. Alberto Aragon-Correa*, Alfred A. Marcus, Jorge E. Rivera, Amy L. Kenworthy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)
605 Downloads (Pure)


Over the past decade, there has been a notable increase in discussions surrounding the integration of global sustainability issues and responsible management practices into the business school curriculum. What we have yet to see, however, and what we would like to begin with this essay, is a meaningful discussion regarding the overarching goals of sustainable and responsible management education as they relate to the available teaching and learning resources in this domain. To achieve this, we first identify the tensions between teaching sustainability to change the world for the better and those aimed at making companies better off. We propose a balance between these two aspirations. We then turn to the thoughts of academic practitioners in the field with a survey of 169 management and sustainability instructors. Results indicate that respondents use papers, cases, and videos to teach courses in this field, while textbooks and electronic resources (i. e., databases, simulations, and apps) are only marginally utilized. The respondents are only moderately satisfied with most of the available teaching resources and the integration of existing resources within general curricula. The results show some interesting differences between postgraduate and undergraduate courses, and also between junior and senior instructors. In this essay, we argue that the moral enthusiasm for teaching in the sustainability domain must not take away from precise analysis of problems, solutions, their implementability, and their interconnected complexity. As such, we propose a set of five recommendations for the design and selection of sustainability management teaching resources that will effectively address issues related to planet, people, and profits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-483
Number of pages15
JournalAcademy of Management Learning and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


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