ISDRS - 26th International Sustainability Development Research Society Conference - 15-17th of July


Change agencies in the society are understood via research and education. Business schools according to the recent literature tend to be rather traditional, not meeting the new requirements of the society concerning societal transitions. Business schools, which are the nests for business knowledge transmission and as part of academic institutions provide practical and experiential knowledge base, may become change agencies in the societal transitions due to changes in the society such environmental, innovational or social expectations.

Analyzing the currently available literature, elements are collected in this article. These elements are based on a three level analysis starting from change agency theories (change agents on an institutional level), through academic institutions as change agents till business schools as academic institutions being agencies of change to meet the new requirements of our society. The elements form a framework, which frame the role, responsibilities, barriers and challenges of the business schools in these change processes.

Pursuing the most key actors makes a change agent; therefore individuals willing to initiate change at business schools to meet the new requirements of the society must be persuasive towards the decision makers at a supreme level. Action-gap is to be filled in via the personal motivation of change agents at business schools independently from their position. Business schools were first funded by the church, later mostly by the states, which inevitably creates dependence, therefore the interest of the business schools’ owners have to be met. Business schools being part of academic institutions can become change agencies in countries that are on different levels of economic innovation but ought to choose a diverse pathway. Business schools as academic institutions have been acting as reactive change agencies, responding to the outsider economic, social, political, religious expectations, though these institutions have never acted as pro-active initiators of

changes for public service, which was originally one of the three missions of academies. They have been adaptive change agencies, instead of transformational ones.
It is generally going to be a significant win for the society at large when business schools step onto the road of becoming change agencies at a rather significant scope instead of local, smaller scale and the knowledge transmission will be based on mode 3 type of knowledge production releasing the hands of future intra- and entrepreneurs acting as responsible business personnel to meet the new requirements of our society. This article provides the framework for it built up of elements gained with the comprehensive understanding of high-value research articles.