Universities have generally been unsuccessful in implementing sustainability programs, and face criticism from other sectors whose more successful efforts have spanned many years and all aspects of their core business. Poor leadership and inadequate change management practices are often cited as reasons why sustainability programs fail. However, it is possible that universities' actual models of leadership and change management, and their underlying theories and assumptions are one of the major contributors to the problem. This paper considers the nature of leadership and change management in universities within the sustainability context, and suggests the concepts of sustainable leadership and socialised change management as alternative options. The approach to the research designed to investigate these issues is presented, along with a preliminary comparison of university sustainability programs in the metropolitan region of Sydney, Australia.