Think outside the European box: Identifying sustainability competencies for a base of the pyramid context

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The complex and global nature of unsustainability requires concerted efforts of sustainability change agents from developed and developing countries all over the world. Various attempts have been made to define competencies needed for change agents to effectively contribute to sustainable development. However, most of the studies on sustainability competencies are Eurocentric in focus. Therefore, it is unclear if a base of the pyramid context would require a different set of competencies. This context is characterized by low per capita income, limited infrastructure, and rural population. To fill this gap, we conducted a Delphi study in two rounds in Ethiopia, as a country at the base of the pyramid. Experts (n = 33) from academia and the industry rated and confirmed seven competencies from the literature as being generally important for sustainable development. Additionally, they identified eight sustainability y competencies specifically important for the Ethiopian context, and thus potentially for other countries with the features of base of the pyramid context. Systems thinking and transdisciplinary competence gained the highest ratings. A subsequent specific literature search revealed that previous studies in contexts other than the base of the pyramid context also identified some of the eight additional sustainability competencies. This is important for future studies regarding the universal nature of certain sustainability competencies. The study brought together three fields of research: sustainability, competence, and base of the pyramid context. Our findings contribute to the theory of professional competence by showing that certain sustainability competencies can be of generic nature, independent of socioeconomic context, whereas others are context-specific. In addition, the sustainability competencies may serve as intended learning outcomes of education and training and development programs for sustainability.

LanguageEnglish
Pages828-838
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume221
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Fingerprint

Sustainable development
sustainability
sustainable development
Base of the pyramid
Sustainability
Competency
education and training
rural population
Developing countries
learning
developing world
infrastructure
income
Education
industry

Keywords

  • Base of the pyramid
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Delphi
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainability competence
  • Sustainable development

Cite this

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title = "Think outside the European box: Identifying sustainability competencies for a base of the pyramid context",
abstract = "The complex and global nature of unsustainability requires concerted efforts of sustainability change agents from developed and developing countries all over the world. Various attempts have been made to define competencies needed for change agents to effectively contribute to sustainable development. However, most of the studies on sustainability competencies are Eurocentric in focus. Therefore, it is unclear if a base of the pyramid context would require a different set of competencies. This context is characterized by low per capita income, limited infrastructure, and rural population. To fill this gap, we conducted a Delphi study in two rounds in Ethiopia, as a country at the base of the pyramid. Experts (n = 33) from academia and the industry rated and confirmed seven competencies from the literature as being generally important for sustainable development. Additionally, they identified eight sustainability y competencies specifically important for the Ethiopian context, and thus potentially for other countries with the features of base of the pyramid context. Systems thinking and transdisciplinary competence gained the highest ratings. A subsequent specific literature search revealed that previous studies in contexts other than the base of the pyramid context also identified some of the eight additional sustainability competencies. This is important for future studies regarding the universal nature of certain sustainability competencies. The study brought together three fields of research: sustainability, competence, and base of the pyramid context. Our findings contribute to the theory of professional competence by showing that certain sustainability competencies can be of generic nature, independent of socioeconomic context, whereas others are context-specific. In addition, the sustainability competencies may serve as intended learning outcomes of education and training and development programs for sustainability.",
keywords = "Base of the pyramid, Corporate social responsibility, Delphi, Sustainability, Sustainability competence, Sustainable development",
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Think outside the European box: Identifying sustainability competencies for a base of the pyramid context. / Demssie, Yared Nigussie; Wesselink, Renate; Biemans, Harm J.A.; Mulder, Martin.

In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 221, 06.2019, p. 828-838.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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