University sustainability and system ontology

Grant Aguirre, David M. Boje, Melissa L. Cast, Suzanne L. Conner, Catherine Helmuth, Rakesh Mittal, Rohny Saylors, Nazanin Tourani, Sebastien Vendette, Tony Qiang Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This intervention study outlines the continuing journey of a university towards its sustainability potentiality. We introduce the importance of sustainable development and link it to our intervention study of potentiality for sustainability from a Heideggerian phenomenological perspective. Through a case study of sustainability at New Mexico State University, we provide an insight into the development of a new dimension of university sustainability interface. This interface exists in terms of a dialogic of sustainability, as it relates to the balancing of competing needs, such as efficiency, heart, and brand identity. An important aspect of this interface is intervention, highlighting new possibilities for the top administrators regarding the university’s goals and environmentalities. A qualitative and interpretive approach using ontological storytelling inquiry is employed. Data for the study were collected through in-depth interviews with university members from all hierarchical levels. This article raises interesting ontological issues for sustainability researchers, and has implications for strategy as practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-618
Number of pages42
JournalInternational Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


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