Sustainability in Strategic Management Education: The Quest for New Root Metaphors

September 2010
Academy of Management Learning & Education;Sep2010, Vol. 9 Issue 3, p413
Academic Journal
The integration of sustainability into strategic management education has recently evolved from a marginal issue into one of greater importance and centrality. Sustainability-related subjects (e.g., reducing energy consumption, conserving water supplies, improving air quality, preserving endangered species and ecosystems) have been added to the curricula of undergraduate and graduate programs and to strategic management textbooks. The current reforms will not, however, create deep or lasting change if the root metaphors underlying strategic management education remain unchanged. Metaphors are integral to the way we act, interact, and think about the world. They are also central to the discussion of sustainability in strategic management, as with any complex and fluid phenomenon. While various metaphors have waxed and waned in popularity over the years, the war metaphor still guides strategic management theory, research, and education. In light of the challenges of sustainability, a reappraisal of the war metaphor is overdue. We need to consider its role and impact in our approach to sustainable strategic management education. My purpose in this exercise is twofold: (1) to arrive at an enriched understanding and deeper appreciation of the war metaphor in strategic management education, and (2) to provide some insights into how new metaphors can be created, assessed, and promoted to establish sustainability as a framework for strategic management education.


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