Purpose – With more than 332 signatories, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) is probably the most solid initiative to inspire and champion responsible business education globally. The purpose of this paper is to examine the activities undertaken by the first intake of signatories – universities and business schools – with regard to each of the six principles (offering a systematic analysis and “distilled” categorization of those initiatives). It also aims to evaluate the difficulties and tensions that may be entailed in integrating PRME in both the strategic intent and daily operations of educational institutions, and how to overcome some of these. Finally, it aims to offer a critical reflection on the “non‐compliance and non regulatory/measurement” nature of PRME (the initiative assumes that signatories act on the basis of principled pragmatism), offering suggestions for improving the reporting mechanism on which the whole initiative is based. Design/methodology/approach – The authors analyze the first 100 “Sharing Information on Progress” (SIP) reports uploaded to the PRME web site. These reports are the main mechanism established by the PRME Secretariat to build learning and accountability and allow signatories to communicate their progress. Elements from grounded theory and other qualitative analytical approaches were used to allow themes to emerge from within the (often messy and irregular) data from the reports. Graphical representations are also used. Findings – Activities undertaken by PRME signatories are portrayed for each of the six principles: principle 1 on purpose (capabilities of students); principle 2 on values (incorporated in curriculum and academic activities); principle 3 on learning approaches; principle 4 on research (with sustainable, social, environmental and economic value); principle 5 on partnership (interaction with business managers); and principle 6 on dialogue (among key stakeholders). Tensions regarding ideology, integration and implementation are also identified, as well as possible weaknesses, e.g. on integrity, quality and reporting policies, in the current “SIP” framework. Originality/value – This paper is the first scholarly work depicting comprehensively the activities of PRME signatories worldwide.
Journal of Global Responsibility – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 27, 2011
Keywords: UN‐PRME; 6‐Principles; Education; Sustainability; Responsibility; Universities; Business schools
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