Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

701-1512-00L  HES Systems 1 - Individual and Organizational Interactions with Environmental Systems

SemesterSpring Semester 2015
LecturersO. van Vliet, A. Patt, K. T. Seeland, M. Siegrist
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractThis lecture provides the students with an in depth understanding of different theoretical approaches to understand and influence individual and organizational interactions with the environment. The theories are exemplified using case studies of actual problems in human-environment systems
Objective- Getting an in-depth insight into current theoretical approaches to understand individual and organizational interactions with the environment

- Understanding the advantages and shortcomings of the different approaches as well as their potential synergies and inconsistencies

- Being able to apply these theoretical approaches to better understand actual problems in human environment systems

- Deriving strategic orientations for approaching problems in human environment systems on the basis of the presented theories
ContentStudents who participate in this seminar/lecture learn how to conceptualize and to investigate human-environment systems.

The lecture includes three main parts:

Part 1: An introduction into how to define environment of human systems and how to conceptualize human-environment systems on different levels, namely the individual, the group, the organization (companies, NGO), institutions (states, agencies, ministries), societies (including governments) and supranational systems.

Part 2: The second part deals with an in-depth look into five scientific fields: a) one natural science: biology, b) three social sciences: psychology, sociology and economics, c) one engineering science: industrial ecology, which have to be used when conceptualizing human-environment systems. You will in particularly learn what different rationales are at work at the different hierarchy levels of human-environment systems and what you can learn from different social sciences disciplines.

Part 3: Each student has to design a research plan for an "own research project" (for instance a master thesis) in the domain of environmental and sustainability sciences. The students will learn how to develop and substantiate hypotheses for this research plan referring to salient theories and approaches provided by the disciplines introduced in part 2 of the lecture.
Lecture notesHandouts provided in the lecture