How mindfulness training cultivates introspection and competence development for sustainable consumption

Pascal Frank, Anna Sundermann, Daniel Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: This paper aims to explore the relationship between introspection and key competencies for sustainable consumption (KCSCs). It investigates whether mindfulness training can cultivate the ability to introspect and stimulate the development of KCSCs. Design/methodology/approach: Two independent studies were analyzed. Data were retrieved from interviews with participants of a consumer-focused mindfulness training (Study 1, 11 participants), as well as from diaries of students attending a university seminar with mindfulness training (Study 2, 13 students), and made subject to qualitative content analysis. Findings: Both studies show a clear intersection between both constructs and suggest that mindfulness training can contribute to the development of KCSCs and learners’ ability to introspect. The studies also demonstrated that introspection is not equally related to all competencies and that KCSCs must not be reduced to introspection. Research limitations/implications: Both KCSCs and introspection are complex and latent constructs and hence challenging to observe. The research understands itself as a first exploratory approach for empirically investigating this complex relation. Originality/value: While increasing (self-)reflectivity is at the core of competence-based education, a systematic engagement with the practice of introspection as a means to enhancing reflectivity is surprisingly lacking. Mindfulness training could be a promising way to cultivate introspective abilities and thus facilitate learning processes that are conducive to competence development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1002-1021
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 4 2019


  • Higher education for sustainable consumption
  • Introspection
  • Key competencies for sustainable consumption
  • Mindfulness
  • Qualitative content analysis
  • Reflectivity
  • Sustainable consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Education


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