16-B.2 Sustainability-integration in Business School Curricula in the Asia-Pacific Region: An Exploratory Study

Malik Asghar Naeem , School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand
Mark Neal , School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand, Bangkok, Thailand
Integration of sustainability in higher education is critical for achieving the goal of sustainable future. Management education, in particular, has a key role in achieving the goal, as business practices are directly linked to economic, social and environmental issues. This exploratory study sets out the state of integration of sustainability in business curricula of the business schools operating in the Asia pacific region. A comprehensive list of the best 200 business school was prepared, and questionnaires were sent to Deans or Heads of Departments. In response, 48 duly filled-in questionnaires were received from business schools in 20 countries, with considerable responses from Thailand and Malaysia. This study, therefore, portrays the state of sustainability-integration overall in the region as well as provides a comparison of Thai and Malaysian business schools. The findings indicate that the realization of embedding sustainability in business education has a long way to go. Few respondent business schools offered core courses in sustainability, in contrast to claims that they were integrating sustainability in one or more of their offered courses. A large number of schools appear to be working on developing courses in these areas, though few have yet embarked on offering full degree programs. Traditional courses on sustainability, namely, Business Ethics and Corporate Governance are being taught as core courses by a number of business schools in the region; however, arguably equally important courses such as Social Business and Corporate Social Responsibility have not yet received due attention from many business schools. Inertia among faculty members in terms of revising course content, and orienting it to sustainability, appears one of the key hurdles, followed by a lack of case studies, and limited access to teaching materials. A number of actions, pointed out by respondents, including becoming a part of regional networks of universities committed to mainstreaming sustainability in business education, access to regional case studies, and bringing in speakers and adjuncts with practical experience in sustainability issues, can help promote and support sustainability in business education.

Keywords: Sustainability, Business Schools, Asia-Pacific, Thailand, Malaysia, Corporate Governance, CSR, Social Business