Sensemaking of sustainability in higher educational institutions through the lens of discourse analysis

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This study aims to explore the range of sustainability-related discourses by the stakeholders within a particular Finnish Higher Education Institution (HEI); interaction between the discourses and the context of the HEI; and the extent to which different understandings of sustainability cause challenges for the implementation of the university strategy for sustainability. Specifically, the paper explores how the employees within the HEI make sense of sustainability in their teaching, research and daily life and the extent to which sustainability-related discourses are aligned with the university strategy.

This research draws upon collected qualitative and quantitative data. It focuses on individual discourses by executives, teaching and research staff within an HEI regarding their understandings of sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This paper illustrates the key challenges of sustainability and SDG implementation that may emerge in HEIs due to varied understandings. The results indicate a need for efficient HEI strategic vision communication and consideration of the stakeholders’ multiplicity of sustainability values.

This paper sheds light on the challenges involved in seeking to enhance sustainable development in an academic setting with multiple disciplines and categories of staff guided by academic freedom. The analysis thus advances the understanding of academic sustainability-related discourses and framings as well as mechanisms through which the implementation of sustainability-related efforts can be enhanced in such a context.
TidskriftInternational Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
StatusE-pub före tryck - 2 feb. 2024
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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