Impacts of higher education institutions on sustainable development – review and conceptualization

Florian Findler, Norma Schönherr, Rodrigo Lozano, Daniela Reider, Robert-Andre Martinuzzi

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This paper provides a literature review on impacts of higher education institutions on sustainable development. The literature search was conducted with the electronic database ProQuest, with a timeframe from 2006 to 2016. The selected articles were analyzed in a systematic way to provide an overview of the existing research and to develop a conceptual framework of impacts of higher education institutions on sustainable development. It complements previous reviews on the integration of sustainability issues in higher education institutions by specifically eliciting what is known about the wider effects of activities for sustainable development. The article shows that much of the extant literature is still descriptive and case study based in nature. The findings indicate a domination of studies analyzing organizational commitments and of studies focusing on the implementation of activities derived from these commitments. The distinction between higher education institutions’ activities for sustainable development and impacts on sustainable development is so far not apparent in the literature. The conceptual framework provides a starting point for future research that aims at a more systematic assessment of impacts of higher education institutions on the wider economy, environment and society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 201128 Sustainable building

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