Assessing sustainability orientations of first year university students

Ulla Saari, Urve Venesaar, Merle Ojasoo, Saku Mäkinen, Petri Nokelainen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


In order for universities to be able to develop and adjust their courses and teaching methods to better support the sustainability and ethical education of university students, the status and levels of sustainability and ethical standards among freshman students need to be measured and analyzed. The objective of our research is to study do first year university students already consider sustainability and ethical aspects when assessing the business environment and opportunities in the markets. The authors intend to develop a sustainability assessment tool and determine whether entrepreneurship courses support sustainable and responsible thinking in university education by measuring the opinion of students using a self-assessment questionnaire. The development of the sustainability assessment tool is based on existing measures on students’ sustainability and ethical commitment supported by the works of Buil et al. (2016) and De Clercq & Dakhli (2009). The data were collected at the Tampere University of Technology in Finland and Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia. The findings indicate that first year students already acknowledge the need for taking into account sustainability, and that it is important for business initiatives to be both socially and environmentally responsible. In addition, this study shows that the sustainability orientations of students in different engineering disciplines do not vary significantly from each other. Thus, the sustainability assessment tool developed in this study has been tested and found to be coherent among students in different engineering disciplines. Even though the data set is rather limited, it encourages further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication79th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationSymposium on Reported Impacts of Sustainability in Management Education and Engagement, August 9-13, 2019, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
PublisherAcademy of Management AOM
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2019
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management: Understanding the Inclusive Organization - Boston, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201913 Aug 2019
Conference number: 79

Publication series

NameAcademy of management proceedings
ISSN (Print)0065-0668
ISSN (Electronic)2151-6561


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 0


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