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Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2022) | Viewed by 35760

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Business, University of Iceland, 102 Reykjavik, Iceland
Interests: knowledge management; human resource management; labour markets; regional universities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Taking the COVID-19 virus as a recent event, one can observe that working life has changed throughout the world. People have experienced lockdown, social distancing, and isolation. Many firms have been closed down, and in other cases production have been slowed down for security reasons, and service and sales have been moved online. Consequently, many people have lost their employment, salaries have been reduced, and people have been sent home for distance working. Against this background, this Special Issue invites us to rethink Human Resource Management (HRM), with a particular interest in sustainable HRM. How have recent developments affected creativity, innovation, motivation, social isolation, stress, and work-life balance? Will we see a more sustainable future via homeworking, online meetings, and less commuting? How will it affect the social aspects of work? How is the relationship between managers and employees affected by recent developments?

Theoretical, conceptual, and empirical articles on new and innovative approaches to sustainable HRM are welcome.

Prof. Ingi Runar Edvardsson
Prof. Dr. Susanne Durst
Guest Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2400 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.

Keywords

  • Creativity
  • Homeworking
  • Work-life balance
  • Commuting
  • Online meetings
  • Social aspects of work
  • Relationship between managers and employees

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 164 KiB  
Editorial
Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management
by Ingi Runar Edvardsson and Susanne Durst
Sustainability 2022, 14(11), 6545; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116545 - 27 May 2022
Viewed by 1671
Abstract
The Special Issue, “Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management”, contains five papers that focus directly or indirectly on the vast effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had on employment, employment relations and in this context human resource management (HRM) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management)

Research

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20 pages, 349 KiB  
Article
COVID-19 and Well-Being in Remote Coastal Communities—A Case Study from Iceland
by David Cook, Lára Jóhannsdóttir, Sarah Kendall, Catherine Chambers and Mauricio Latapí
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010332 - 25 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2291
Abstract
This study utilizes a recently developed framework for the well-being economy to evaluate the impacts of COVID-19 in the sparsely populated Westfjords region of northwestern Iceland. A total of 42 semi-structured interviews were conducted with a broad spectrum of local community members, nearly [...] Read more.
This study utilizes a recently developed framework for the well-being economy to evaluate the impacts of COVID-19 in the sparsely populated Westfjords region of northwestern Iceland. A total of 42 semi-structured interviews were conducted with a broad spectrum of local community members, nearly all undertaken in October 2021. Local impacts to human and social capital were very evident, whilst economic consequences to individuals and business were largely mitigated through national economic packages. The remoteness of the Westfjords and pre-existing challenges, such as exposure to nature disasters, a harsh climate, and limited infrastructure, provided a bedrock of resilience with which to tackle the pandemic. This underpinned the sustainability of the communities, and flexible approaches to work and education constrained some of the worst potential effects of social distancing and isolation. Nevertheless, some socio-demographic groups remained harder hit than others, including the elderly in nursing homes and non-Icelandic speaking foreigners, who were marginalized via isolation and lack of information provision in the early, most severe outbreaks of COVID-19. The study demonstrated the coping mechanisms and solutions that were adopted to sustain subjective and community well-being, whilst reinforcing the importance of utilizing local community strengths in tackling the many challenges induced by a pandemic crisis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management)
18 pages, 642 KiB  
Article
Human Resource Management and Institutional Resilience during the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Case Study from the Westfjords of Iceland
by Lára Jóhannsdóttir, David Cook, Sarah Kendall, Mauricio Latapí and Catherine Chambers
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16988; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416988 - 18 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2758
Abstract
Human resource management (HRM) is challenging in times of crisis, more so than when there is a stable business environment. Consequently, the overall aim of the study is to identify the preparedness, transition process, learning, and growth that businesses in the Westfjords region [...] Read more.
Human resource management (HRM) is challenging in times of crisis, more so than when there is a stable business environment. Consequently, the overall aim of the study is to identify the preparedness, transition process, learning, and growth that businesses in the Westfjords region experienced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, 42 semi-structured interviews were conducted with various members of the society, such as health authorities, healthcare workers, staff of a university center, social workers, and business owners, to gain as broad of an understanding of the local impacts as possible, as well as the coping strategies that emerging or were employed. The model employed for the analysis is an organizational resilience and organizational coping strategies model, which considers both the pre- and post-crisis situation. The core components of this model—anticipate and plan, manage and survive, and learn and grow—were the themes that were used in the thematic analysis of the interviews presented in the results. The findings of the study suggest that the preparedness aspect of the model employed, namely anticipate and plan, was negligible, as institutions were neither very ready for disruption prior to the crisis, nor had plans in place to deal with such a situation. Despite the lack of pre-crisis anticipation and planning mechanisms, examples of how institutions managed and coped during the pandemic were evident in the data. Also, during the crisis, some institutions managed to not just learn and grow, but, through adaptation to the situation, they were able to thrive. The findings also suggest both positive and negative aspects to HRM in public and private institutions. The implications of the study are theoretical in cases of alteration to the analytical model employed, practical in the case of coping mechanisms and practical solutions suggested, and have policy relevance, as the study emphasizes the importance of integrating flexible approaches to national mandates, thus enabling local conditions to be taken into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management)
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20 pages, 996 KiB  
Article
Relationship between Work-Life Balance and Job Performance Moderated by Knowledge Risks: Are Bank Employees Ready?
by Michele Samuele Borgia, Francesca Di Virgilio, Maura La Torre and Muhammad Adnan Khan
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5416; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095416 - 30 Apr 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 6641
Abstract
Despite the focus on knowledge risks in the literature, a limited number of studies have empirically examined technological knowledge risks in terms of digitalization, old technologies, and cybercrime as moderating variables in the relationship between work-life balance and job performance. To address this [...] Read more.
Despite the focus on knowledge risks in the literature, a limited number of studies have empirically examined technological knowledge risks in terms of digitalization, old technologies, and cybercrime as moderating variables in the relationship between work-life balance and job performance. To address this gap, this paper investigated the moderation effects of technological knowledge risks on the relationship between work-life balance and job performance during the pandemic period in employees of cooperative credit banks. A quantitative approach that involved gathering surveys was adopted. Applying PLS-SEM, the empirical findings revealed that technological knowledge risks have a significant impact on the relationship between work-life balance and job performance. Additionally, this research encourages managers to create and maintain a healthy work environment that promotes valuable employees’ job performance while also evaluating the use of new technological advances and their related risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management)
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14 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
Changes and Challenges in Human Resources Management: An Analysis of Human Resources Roles in a Bank Context (after COVID-19)
by Chiara D’Angelo, Diletta Gazzaroli, Chiara Corvino and Caterina Gozzoli
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4847; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084847 - 18 Apr 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5284
Abstract
Background: In the coming years, HR in the banking industry will need to play a leading role to develop human capital management, based on people care, evaluation, development, and training. To properly face this change in one of the biggest Italian banks we [...] Read more.
Background: In the coming years, HR in the banking industry will need to play a leading role to develop human capital management, based on people care, evaluation, development, and training. To properly face this change in one of the biggest Italian banks we wanted to contribute to understanding the actual HR areas of change and examine how HR roles are dealing with “being on the frontline” of an unparalleled organisational evolution. Methods: Six focus-group sessions with up to 10 participants per session. Results: The crucial issue that emerged is a profound rupture and crisis that showed the (already existing) fragilities of the HR role interpretation: develop a new synergic relationship with the top management; define a stronger and wider organisational mandate; establish structured moments of discussion between professionals. Conclusion: HR roles in the banking context, especially after the pandemic, entail a high emotional burden related to role assumption. Specifically, our research highlighted the need to discuss the evolution of the HR role with top management, the need for synergies and a definition of the organisational mandate that allows wider participation in terms of decision-making and planning, and finally the need for supervision of HR roles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management)
22 pages, 1311 KiB  
Article
Workplace Loneliness and the Need to Belong in the Era of COVID-19
by Shuyun Du, Yinan Ma and Jeoung Yul Lee
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4788; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14084788 - 16 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4007
Abstract
On the basis of Social Exchange Theory (SET), Knowledge Stickiness Theory (KST), and the need-to-belong hypotheses, we empirically studied the causes and consequences of workplace loneliness in interpersonal communication and explored the moderating effect of the need to belong. We distributed a survey [...] Read more.
On the basis of Social Exchange Theory (SET), Knowledge Stickiness Theory (KST), and the need-to-belong hypotheses, we empirically studied the causes and consequences of workplace loneliness in interpersonal communication and explored the moderating effect of the need to belong. We distributed a survey and collected 639 valid responses in mainland China in both paper and electronic form during the period of February to October 2020, when the COVID-19 crisis was severe. Mplus was used to create a latent structural equation model with a moderating mediating model. Collaborative and competitive intrateam climates affect employees’ workplace loneliness and knowledge hoarding from different aspects. We also verified a moderated mediation model. Thus, this study examines the mediating effect of workplace loneliness and introduces the need to belong as the moderating variable; reveals the formation mechanism of workplace loneliness in collaborative and competitive intrateam climates; and deepens the research on the effective regulation of workplace loneliness. As the COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing, we have verified changes to the mediating effect of workplace loneliness, driven by the motivation of the need to belong, and clearly evaluated a moderated mediating effect path, which contributes to the theory of belonging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management)
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17 pages, 834 KiB  
Article
Socially Responsible HR in Action: Learning from Corporations Listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index World 2018/2019
by Pyounggu Baek and Taesung Kim
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3237; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063237 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2831
Abstract
As ethical management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and corporate sustainability (CS) are increasingly permeating business discourse, contemplating the role of human resources (HR) in helping organizations with socially responsible management is a proactive acceptance of stakeholders’ expectations while reinforcing the field’s identity and [...] Read more.
As ethical management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and corporate sustainability (CS) are increasingly permeating business discourse, contemplating the role of human resources (HR) in helping organizations with socially responsible management is a proactive acceptance of stakeholders’ expectations while reinforcing the field’s identity and contribution. In response, the we examined the HR policies and practices of 46 multinational enterprises (MNEs) listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World 2018/2019 to add new insights to the literature and inform the HR field on how to move forward with socially responsible HR. Content analysis and inductive conceptualization of the MNEs’ HR activities produced a triangular pyramid for socially responsible HR, constructed with eight major themes at the individual, organizational, and institutional levels. Building on the findings, we suggest implications for practice and research, and conclude with urging the HR community to demonstrate leadership in setting the agendas and facilitating change toward socially responsible management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management)
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Review

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17 pages, 613 KiB  
Review
Human Resource Management in Crisis Situations: A Systematic Literature Review
by Ingi Runar Edvardsson and Susanne Durst
Sustainability 2021, 13(22), 12406; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132212406 - 10 Nov 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 8283
Abstract
The paper aims to present a systematic literature review in the field of human resource management in times of crisis since 2008. In that way gaps in the current body of knowledge can be established that justify future research guidelines. The study consists [...] Read more.
The paper aims to present a systematic literature review in the field of human resource management in times of crisis since 2008. In that way gaps in the current body of knowledge can be established that justify future research guidelines. The study consists of an analysis of 56 articles published in journals indexed in the Web of Science database. The majority of the papers were published in recent years, indicating a growing interest in the field. To be included, the papers had to be (1) peer-reviewed papers, (2) empirical papers that report on HRM practices in firms, (3) written in English, and (4) published in the period 2008–2021. Four themes were identified: economic crisis and HRM, health crisis and HRM, natural disasters and HRM, and political instability and HRM. The findings provide valuable knowledge and understanding of the present situation of HRM in crises. A number of future research guidelines are presented, which may encourage more research in this crucial field of study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rethinking Sustainability in Human Resource Management)
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