Sustainability for Brazilian management students: integrity and opportunism

Abstract

This paper investigates the perspective of students in the undergraduate management program of a Brazilian public university regarding the notion of sustainability. A quantitative survey was carried out, and data were collected through triangulation by combining documentary research and submission of a questionnaire to a sample of 233 students (30.98% of the population size) from both shifts of the course (morning and evening). Data analysis was carried out through the SPSS software and the use of descriptive statistics as well as nonparametric tests. The synthesis of the results reveals that, according to the respondents’ perspective, the classic notion of sustainability, which entails an equitable treatment of the economic, social–cultural, and environmental dimensions, takes different positions when comparing the expected behavior and the actual behavior. In the first case, the notion of sustainability is oriented by the morals of integrity with long-term orientation and, in the second, it is guided by the morals of opportunism with a short-term orientation. The results indicate that the introduction of the topic of “sustainability” in the undergraduate management program deserves rethinking, especially through a holistic approach of integration and synthesis. Additionally, the results elicit reflections on the process of managers’ education, especially because there is evidence that the profit-targeted, functionalist educational model still prevails over the logic of a sustainability-targeted education.

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Funding

This work was supported by the Funding Agency #1—National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq—Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) under Grant number 307136/2014-0; and Funding Agency #2—Foundation for Research and Innovation Support in Espírito Santo (FAPES—Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa e Inovação do Espírito Santo) under Grant number 091/2015.

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da Silva Junior, A., de Oliveira Martins-Silva, P., de Araújo Vasconcelos, K.C. et al. Sustainability for Brazilian management students: integrity and opportunism. Environ Dev Sustain 23, 1292–1315 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-020-00621-4

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Keywords

  • Sustainability
  • Manager’s education
  • Stakeholders
  • Integrity
  • Opportunism