An analysis of social capital and environmental management of higher education institutions

Evangelinos, Konstantinos I. and Jones, Nikoleta (2009). An analysis of social capital and environmental management of higher education institutions. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 10(4) pp. 334–342.



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to analyse the importance of the theory of social capital for the challenges presented during environmental management initiatives in higher education institutions (HEIs). In particular, the paper utilises the fundamental components of social capital theory and assesses a hypothesis that higher stocks of social capital result in benefits for environmental management of HEIs.

Design/methodology/approach – An introduction of the concept of social capital and its components is presented followed by a brief review on its main connections with environmental policy and management in general. An analysis of the influence of each component on several issues occurring during the environmental management of HEIs follows.

Findings – Through the analysis, it is claimed that social capital is a useful concept for the environmental management of HEIs and may significantly facilitate such initiatives. Research limitations/implications – The paper emphasizes the effect of community social capital in the internal functioning of organizations. Further research could also explore the influence of dealings with external actors.

Practical implications – The paper emphasises the importance of exploring the potential influence of social factors while planning environmental initiatives. Through such assessments, several obstacles may be overcome during implementation procedures.

Originality/value – This is a first attempt to explore the application of the theory of social capital for the functioning of the academic community during initiatives for the greening of HEIs.

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