Sustainable development, ethics, strategy and international higher education: The case of Australia and France
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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017. It is almost one decade to the day when we observed a global financial crisis which hit the markets worldwide, slowed down the global markets and financial systems to nonentity or even adverse growth rates. The negative ramifications had far-reaching effects resulting in a social crisis impacting on millions of people in different parts of the world. There were several calls for governments at all levels, industry, and most importantly to academia to work together with other organizations to create ethically responsible alternatives to address the crisis. Although there can be no turning back, there is a need to move forward; thus, educators in the higher education sector have been motivated to examine options and seek solutions that could mitigate the effects of hard times in future. One of these attempts is discussed in this chapter, which reports on the development and the facilitation of a course (unit) on ‘Sustainable Development and Business/ Ethical Strategies’ (SDBS/SDES). SDBS/SDES was developed in Australia for delivery to international students from different parts of the world enrolled at a European partner’s business school in France. This course (unit), with ongoing updates, was presented six times in France and has enabled students to adopt a new perspective towards change, outlining a new strategy through innovation in an ever-changing, fluctuating, ambiguous, uncertain and contemporary ‘risk society’ . The topic of sustainable development, intertwined with business and ethical strategies, has gained momentum in various areas including governments, international organizations (e.g. UN PRiME), and business education courses. To understand the multidisciplinary nature of this vast topic, which in part touches on ethical issues, sustainability and strategic development in contemporary business, the SDBS/SDES course (unit) was designed to give students the opportunity to engage in class discussions and debates, sharing their unique international experiences. This facilitated the transformation of their mindsets despite their diverse cultural backgrounds. This transformation was measured through the close monitoring of class discussions, and checking ongoing assessments including reflective accounts (daily and final), which were designed in consultation with the European partner in France. This paper provides a brief literature review of the concepts under study, followed by an insight into the development and facilitation of the SDBS/SDES course (unit). It concludes with an analysis of part of the quantitative and qualitative data collected from (N = 138) students on each of the six occasions when the unit was delivered and facilitated in France (February 2010, February 2011, November 2011, November 2012, November 2013 and November 2014). This is coupled with the course (unit) designer/facilitator’s personal reflection. Though this chapter has its limitations, it is a step forward in developing an international perspective towards teaching these important issues to Business and Management students at a global level at such crucial times.
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