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Transition to a sustainable future : A study about students' attitudes and views toward corporate sustainability. A comparison between Sweden, Italy and Russia.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Main purpose - In a world where different countries have adopted different actions towards sustainability, their sustainable development is strongly affected by the level of commitment toward corporate sustainability of the different companies forming the countries business environment. Economy students from different countries are the future actors of the business environment and we want to discover how they experience and value different aspects within the concept of corporate sustainability in three different countries: Sweden, Italy and Russia. We want to study if their attitudes and views reflect the degree of sustainability that is emphasized in the country.

Sub purpose - We look at economy students as future businessmen and businesswomen; and to be able to value their attitudes towards the concept of corporate sustainability we need concrete aspects that are directly collected from the business environments. The identification of these criteria is the reason why the achievement of our main purpose requires that we perform a explorative study of the sustainability leaders. We want to empirically explore the business environment in order to identify the criteria that characterize corporate sustainability. Those criteria are the ones that we will use in our survey in order to understand the students attitudes and perceptions about the concept of corporate sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach – A sample of 50 surveys each from Sweden, Russia and Italy was analyzed using a combination of deductive and inductive coding techniques. The answers from the students were analyzed in order to reveal the eventual existence of a connection between the way of answering and the country of origin.


Findings – The findings of the study show that the educational development toward sustainability is not as fast as the one of the business environment. This development seems to be fastest in Sweden and Italy and much slower in Russia. Students from all three countries seem to have a general interest in this topic and they expressed their wish to have more information from their universities. There are some differences in the way students value the concept of corporate sustainability in different countries; however, there is an indication that the ranking positions of the countries explored will not change in the future.

Originality/value – We have succeeded in investigating the development of the sustainability trend in the business environment by shifting the focus from the company’s dimension to the economy student’s dimension. We approached a complex and controversial topic by individualizing an uncovered field. We showed how the study of corporate sustainable development must be structured based on the long term perspective by taking into consideration the influence of the future actors of the business environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 155 p.
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26069OAI: diva2:236420
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2009-09-23 Created: 2009-09-22 Last updated: 2009-09-23Bibliographically approved

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