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Driving factors for having visibility of sustainability contents in university degree titles

Zorio-Grima, Ana
Journal of cleaner production 2018
academic degrees, higher education, labor market, marketing, universities
Given the increasing concern about sustainability issues in society, graduates and postgraduates going into the labour market benefit from the inclusion of sustainability contents in university studies. Visibility of these contents is gained towards a potential employer if they are explicitly mentioned in the university degree title. This is the first paper to explore this trend. More precisely, the purpose of this study is to find explanatory causal combinations of factors for this trend in the Spanish setting.The methodological approach of this paper is based on fuzzy sets. More precisely, it follows fuzzy-sets Qualitative Comparative Analysis, which is an innovative approach in the field of Higher Education yet a consolidated method in Sociology, Marketing or Management studies. This new methodology is well suited for rather limited sample sizes.The findings obtained reveal several causal combinations of internal and strategic factors leading to innovation in university degree catalogues by means of making visible the sustainable focus in the title of the university degrees. According to the results obtained, the public status, prestige and the sustainable profile adequately combined with some other characteristics (for instance large size or age) explain this phenomenon.This article uses an innovative methodological approach and makes a valuable contribution as it identifies the factors behind the early adopters, i.e. universities covering this “green niche” in education.