Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Centre for Applied Research on Business and Economics

The university’s role in sustainable development: activating students as agents of change

Abstract

The role of universities in regional economic development has been highlighted in many study but the way in which a university can drive regional sustainable development in developing countries has been largely neglected so far.

Based on an in-depth case study, we show how pollution and poverty in the local context, can drive a university to develop a vision on sustainability and how this vision can act as the driver of institutional entrepreneurship. In our particular case, this institutional entrepreneurship was enacted through four types of academic entrepreneurship related to both education and outreach. We demonstrate how activities that involved students engaging hands-on with the local community ensued the most significant effects in the short run while activities that entailed interactions between faculty members and local stakeholders were more ambitious but also require protracted efforts and are yet to prove their impact. Drawing from the insights generated from our field research, we formulate a series of propositions and combine these into a process framework that portrays the distinct, but interrelated, activities deployed by the university in its endeavors to change the current institutions.

Reference Vaupell, C., Wakkee, I., & van der Sijde, P. (2017). The university’s role in sustainable development: activating students as agents of change. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2017(1), 12083. https://doi.org/10.5465/ambpp.2017.12083abstract