Special Issue "Sustainability and Human Resources Management"
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2021.
Interests: human resource management; human resource development; sustainability; safety culture and safety performance; mindful organizing for safety; high-reliability organizations; high-risk industries; employability; psychological contract
Since the late 1980s, sustainability and sustainable development issues have been prominent features on global political and social agendas. Organizations have been pressured to adopt a long-term sustainable approach to business and include environmental and social goals in their corporate strategy, in addition to the traditional economical goals. This sets a triple bottom line able to satisfy the demands of a wider set of stakeholders. The human resources function of organizations has been identified as a key driver in implementing and achieving the corporate sustainability strategy. This has led to the rise of sustainable human resource management (SHRM)—an extension of strategic human resource management. Although research on SHRM has grown immensely in recent years, especially in the last decade, it is still in an emerging phase. Because of this, the aim of this Special Issue is to increase the theoretical and empirical body of knowledge about SHRM, so that SHRM can progress to “find its feet”.
We are especially interested in the human side of SHRM, which has been largely neglected in SHRM research. Two roles are distinguished in SHRM: the role of human resource management (HRM) in developing sustainable organizations by contributing to the achievement of the corporate sustainability strategy, and the role of HRM in developing sustainable HRM systems. Human resource management needs to both provide HR solutions to become a sustainable organization as well as manage the HR function in a sustainable way.
Regarding the first role, conceptualization and empirical research about corporate sustainability strategies rarely includes human sustainability goals, in addition to environmental, social, and economic goals. Since Pfeffer (2010) asked the provocative question “why are polar bears or even milk jugs more important than people?”, not much has changed in research or practice to adequately include human sustainability on the sustainability agenda.
Regarding the second role, sustainability means engaging more actively in the renewal, regeneration, and reproduction of resources that organizations need to survive in the long term. However, the role of SHRM to sustain the human resource base has received very scarce attention in research. We do not know much about whether, how, and when SHRM contributes to the renewal, regeneration, and reproduction of human resources. We also have not explored when SHRM becomes a self-sustaining system, able to consume less resources than can be reproduced. Furthermore, challenges such as stress at work, health and safety problems, equity and diversity, work–life balance, or the implications of the digital age and emerging new technologies on employees are extremely relevant for SHRM. In the face of these challenges, companies should rethink HRM if they want to retain and renew their employee base to run their business in future. In this vein, the inclusion of human sustainability goals in the corporate sustainability strategy can be critical.
The human resource management literature contains many calls for bringing humanity back into HRM. We encourage researchers to reflect on what the point of HRM is without human goals (e.g., employees’ well-being, health, development, and growth), or if it is it enough for SHRM to pursue these human goals as means to an end (e.g., sustainable economic or environmental performance). Whether it is a matter of putting employees at the center of SHRM as some have claimed, or just of appearing as a feature of SHRM on the same level as economic, social, and environmental goals, we hope HRM stops “Searching for the Human in Human Resource Management” (Bolton and Houlihan, 2007). In this vein, we are convinced that SHRM offers great opportunities for practitioners and researchers to contribute to environmental, economic, social, and human sustainability. In this Special Issue, we hope to encourage addressing these questions and to lay out a roadmap for researchers to follow in the future.
For this Special issue, we will consider original research papers of empirical and conceptual nature as well as reviews. This Special Issue is focused on, but not limited to, the following topics:
- New theoretical developments in defining social and human sustainability in organizations.
- The development of corporate social and human sustainability indicators and metrics.
- The development and quantitative validation of measures for SHRM policies and practices.
- The development of measures for employees’ sustainable behaviors.
- The role of SHRM in the formulation and implementation of corporate sustainability strategies.
- Links between SHRM practices, employees’ sustainable behaviors, and sustainability outcomes.
- The impact of contextual factors on SHRM policies and practices.
- Drivers and barriers to SHRM.
- SHRM and the renewal, regeneration, and reproduction of human resources.
- SHRM as a self-sustaining system.
- Relationship between SHRM practices and human sustainability outcomes.
- Sustainable leadership and sustainable employees.
- Challenges related to the digital age and new emerging technologies for SHRM.
Prof. Dr. Francisco J. Gracia
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- Sustainability and human resource management
- Sustainable human resource management
- Environmental, social, economic, and human sustainability
- SHRM policies and practices
- Corporate sustainability strategy and SHRM
- SHRM and the human resource base
- Sustainable careers
- Sustainable leadership
- “Sustainable” employees
- Employees’ sustainable behaviors
- Digital age and SHRM