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Institutional change toward a sustainability agenda: how far can theory assist?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2013
JournalTertiary Education and Management
Number of pages13
Early online date28/05/13
Original languageEnglish


This paper offers a case study of a major university initiative to embed sustainability into practices there in a number of ways, with a focus here on embedding the sustainability agenda across the curriculum. The purpose of this is to examine how far the concepts and axioms around change processes which run out of two theoretical traditions are borne out by this case. Those traditions are, first, social practice theory (SPT), an ontological perspective on the social world which has implications for how both stability and change are accomplished in organizations and beyond them. Second is an approach to the management of change specifically, a more immediately practical theory termed complex-adaptive systems theory (CAST). The paper’s intent is to consider how far such theories of change offer managers lenses for seeing the issues involved, while illuminating some of the key factors that the social practice and CAS viewpoints foreground.

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