Journal of Social Sciences

Monitoring Educational Organizations' Culture of Sustainable Consumption: Initiating and Evaluating Cultural Change in Schools and Universities

Daniel Fischer

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2011.63.75

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 7, Issue 1

Pages 63-75

Abstract

Problem Statement: Patterns of consumption are considered as a main driver of unsustainable development. In the debate, education and educational organizations are unisonous considered as a key player to contribute to a more sustainable socialization of young consumers. Both schools and universities are challenged to become places and life-worlds in which sustainable consumption can be learned and experienced. The objective of this paper was to explore how educational organizations can effectively engage their members in bringing about the aspired transformations and monitoring their effects. Approach: The study used a conceptual approach that included three steps. Firstly, the concept of an educational organization’s Culture Of Consumption (COC) was adopted as an analytical frame of reference. In a second step, methodological propositions for changing the organizational COC were discussed drawing on the concepts of mode-2 knowledge production and participatory change management. In a third step, existing tools and approaches to sustainability auditing in the educational context were screened and critically discussed against the background of recent innovations in mode-2 approaches to sustainability evaluation. Results: The findings revealed that while existing sets of indicators did adequately account for key consumption-related organizational operations and to some extent for educational goals and aspirations, they failed to tap the realm of underlying and tacit basic assumptions that substantiate the essence of an organizational COC. To remedy this shortcoming, additional indicators and modifications were proposed. As a synthesis, a synoptic framework of a monitoring system for an educational organization’s COC was presented. Conclusion: The study’s results highlighted the need to develop monitoring frameworks that go beyond assessing operative performances and pay greater attention to reflective, interpretative and deliberative capacities in educational organizations.

Copyright

© 2011 Daniel Fischer. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.