Going beyond compliance
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A focus on over-industrialization of Western society has wrought a host of intertwined and impending changes to people and the planet. Sustainability advocates look to the U.S. education system, notably American business schools which help develop business ideology, to participate in aligning sustainability principles with goals of the modern corporation. Educators inside and outside of management argue, however, just how progressive and aggressive they should be in introducing sustainability within the organizational scheme of management education. Using the Cervero and Wilson (1994, 2006) planning theory for adult education programming, the purpose of this study was to examine the program planning processes of U.S. business professors and administrators initiating, creating, and teaching sustainability programs in U.S. MBA business school programs. The following questions form the basis of the research: (1) What are the social and institutional mechanisms that constrain or enable the planning of sustainability programs or courses by business school faculty and administrators? (2) How do sustainability program planners identify stakeholders that affect the direction of their program or courses? (3) How do business school faculty and administrative planners negotiate the power and interests they encounter in planning? This study was conducted using one-on-one interviews with academic planners from selected U.S. business schools. Inductive and deductive qualitative research strategies were used for analyzing research using the constant comparative method to analyze transcribed interview data in order to develop a cogent understanding of sustainability planners’ experiences. The research verified that sustainability has taken root in pockets of business schools where a few planners have established educational communities for advancing special curriculum and projects. Thus, this study proposes the following conclusions as a basis for a final discussion of the data: (1) Sustainability was an organizational innovation for which planners adopted either a revolutionary or incremental planning stance in order to achieve certain degrees of emancipatory change; (2) Planners’ long-term intrinsic motivation and positional capital were central to continuing and strengthening sustainability’s progress through the business school; (3) Planners’ efforts to negotiate support, resources, information and knowledge varied based on the degree of administrator, faculty and external involvement and cooperation.