UNIVERSITIES AS PROMOTERS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The purpose of this paper is to seek and highlight some essential milestones that a university must reach during its journey of becoming an organization that supports the sustainable development of society.
Firstly, we have identified the role of universities in the knowledge-based environment. We have also analyzed the effects of main environmental factors (economic, social, cultural, technological, etc.) on universities in general, and on academics in particular.
Secondly, by studying managerial literature, we have proven that universities must integrate ideas generated at different levels into a system of excellence. In order for that to be possible, universities must be open to new ideas, not only internal ones, but also external, coming from various stakeholders in the environment. Moreover, universities must be models in this respect for all organizations in different fields of activity. A research based on questionnaires and interviews, developed on a sample of PhD students in Management and academics who teach Management, has shown that Romanian organization in general, and Romanian universities in particular, are not enough open to the new ideas of their stakeholders.
In a nutshell, we have shown that the academic who learns is the basic cell of a university that learns to become a promoter of sustainable development. Taking into account that schools and universities are the motors of a nation's education, we think their managers could learn especially from their own teachers and academics how to integrate the school’s or university’s changes into a social system innovation. This will increase the chances for schools and universities to prepare specialists for a sustainable economy.