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Sustainable entrepreneurship undergraduate education: A case study in a Scandinavian business school

Ramirez-Pasillas, Marcela; Evansluong, Quang


Marcela Ramirez-Pasillas


Undergraduate education for sustainability calls for new kinds of collective learning that are not so much of a transmissive nature (i.e. learning as reproduction) but rather of a transformative nature (i.e. learning as change) (Chawla and Flanders Cushing, 2007). This education with a transformative nature is becoming more important in support of the Principles of Responsible Management Education (c.f. Dickson, EckmanLoker, and Jirousek, 2013). Thereby, embodying an active care for sustainable entrepreneurship at undergraduate education implies having an education that includes socialization for sustainability skills and values, and the development of a personal and a collective sense of competence (e.g. Gundlach, and Zivnuska, 2010). Undergraduate education on sustainable entrepreneurship needs to allow faculty members and students the opportunity to participate and influence a variety of processes (cf. Amatucci, Pizarro, and Friedlander, 2013; Gericke, Höglund, and Bergman, 2014) in order to encourage them to be active citizens (c.f. civic engagement Putnam, 1993). There is however, a lack of research focusing on processes addressing how universities are developing sustainable entrepreneurship undergraduate courses that promotes engagement in social change. The aim of this paper is thereby to explore how a university creates an undergraduate course on sustainable entrepreneurship by engaging its faculty and students in social change. To fulfil this purpose, we rely on theory of situated learning and communities of practices and conduct a case study of the renewal of a course at undergraduate level in a Scandinavian business school.
The study revealed the processes for constructing an approach for sustainable entrepreneurship education in an undergraduate course. Institutional entrepreneurs/faculty members and students co-created a community of practice for sustainable entrepreneurship. Students experienced learning by designing (i.e. using the toolkit to map their sustainable venture idea) to learning by reflecting (i.e. meeting a number of mentors and changing their ideas, and reflecting after the festival on it) to learning by doing (i.e. preparing basic prototypes for the Sustainable Entrepreneurship Festival and pitching their projects). By combining supplementary tools along different course moments, students built a better understanding of the challenges of sustainability. Overall, faculty, practitioners and students engaged in rich discussions of business ideas anchored in a triple bottom line approach. The Sustainable Entrepreneurship Festival provided a ley arena for building a community of practice that enhanced their learning as well as stimulated students to contribute to create solutions that either alleviate poverty, provide access to services, integrate immigrants, etc.


Ramirez-Pasillas, M., & Evansluong, Q. (2015, June). Sustainable entrepreneurship undergraduate education: A case study in a Scandinavian business school. Paper presented at 2nd Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context Conference, Copenhagen

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name 2nd Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context Conference
Conference Location Copenhagen
Start Date Jun 8, 2015
End Date Jun 9, 2015
Acceptance Date Jun 6, 2015
Publication Date Jun 6, 2015
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : 2nd Sustainability in a Scandinavian Context Conference