Implementation of sustainability in research and partnerships

Sustainable Transformation

In 2018, Antwerp Management School (AMS) underwent a re-organization which opened the door to many new sustainability initiatives in a broad array of divisions. In a previous blogpost, we explained how we used this opportunity to improve our campus management. Today, we’ll talk about why and how we implement sustainability in research and partnerships.

Our Progress on Research and Partnerships


Our ambition is clear: “Opening minds to impact the world”. We do this based on three core values that form the base of our mission: a global perspective, self-awareness and societal consciousness. At AMS, we want to remain at the forefront of business innovation and transformation. Thanks to our dedicated research team, we stay on top of business science, management and organization. We do this by both creating new knowledge through research and bringing about effective changes together with partners, for example:

To further anchor our mission, AMS has also been subscribed to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) since 2012. In this blogpost, we’ll elaborate on PRME Principle 4 and 5, which are all about research and partnerships.

  • The 4th PRME Principle: we will engage in conceptual and empirical research that advances our understanding about the role, dynamics, and impact of corporations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value.
  • The 5th PRME Principle: we will interact with managers of business corporations to extend our knowledge of their challenges in meeting social and environmental responsibilities and to explore jointly effective approaches to meeting these challenges.

Integrating from expertise centers to 3 research domains

How can we create knowledge based upon current scientific insights and simultaneously offer practical and applicable answers? Our vision is that together we can create more knowledge than we can individually. As the challenges we face grow increasingly complex, there is a need for a customized approach, innovative solutions and specific knowledge.

Research at Antwerp Management School is organized in the business unit Research & Valorization. Research activities, projects and publications are fully in line with the school’s mission and strategy and are also in line with the intention of working cross-expertise in a multidisciplinary way. The entire unit is organized around three main research domains that reflect the brand positioning of AMS. The subunits that are active within each domain illustrate our current research topics:

Enabling Human Impact: the Future of Work, Future Leadership

Leading Organizational Transformation: Design & Innovation, Business Strategy & Operating Models, Digital Innovation

Creating Smart Ecosystems: Innovative Digital Ecosystems, Network Creation & Governance, Sustainable Ecosystems.

“Going forward we will continue our road of transformation ensuring that the Principles and sustainability remain our key drivers, and that together with all our partners and stakeholders we continue to aim for impact in achieving the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.”

- Dean Prof. dr. Steven De Haes

With the re-organization of the research unit, sustainability became a transversal theme cutting across the three main research domains. In 2017 Professor Wayne Visser, a renowned authority in the field of sustainable integration and transformation, was appointed as the world’s first Chair in Sustainable Transformation and Professor of Integrated Value at Antwerp Management School.

Within the research division we created a sustainable transformation lab as the place for Chairs and other initiatives on sustainability.

Sustainable Transformation Lab

We live in times of incredible uncertainty and we are in need of managers and leaders who dare to make choices that lead to sustainable solutions. They need to be aware of the fundamental changes our world is facing, be prepared for the global social and environmental challenges and be a positive force for change through business.

AMS created the Sustainable Transformation Lab, a research and learning Expertise Center that focuses on shifting business from ad hoc to transformative action, in response to these challenges.

Our work in Sustainable Transformation rests on four pillars:

Blog Sustainability

Sustainable Transformation Lab Partnerships

Thought leadership, early trend detection and finding solutions for a sustainable future is our goal. But we can’t do this alone. As the Chair initiative shows, we work in partnership with organizations that share and support our goal, and with whom we can co-create knowledge, visibility and impact through long term partnerships such as the ones that we have with Sustenuto and the Chair in Sustainable Transformation supported by BASF, Port of Antwerp and Randstad. Conclusie

At the beginning of our strategic exercise, it became clear that there was a need for collaboration between the research divisions (in view of multidisciplinary research), and between research and education. Since then, we’ve made significant progress by, among other things, creating the sustainable transformation lab and looking for long-term partnerships to find solutions for a sustainable future.

More on sustainable transformation @ AMS? Discover it here!