Table of Contents

Sustainable Business

Sustainable Business

Theory and Practice of Business under Sustainability Principles

Edited by Geoffrey Wells

Recent surveys of international CEOs confirm that companies increasingly see sustainability as critical to their business strategy. The rigorous academic framework for the field of sustainable business required to respond to this need is now emerging. This book presents important new work in the theory of the sustainable firm, in the application of sustainability principles to key management disciplines, in sustainable business in practice, and in the international challenges that are critical to sustainability demands.

Chapter 7: Socially responsible human resource management: a conceptual framework

Jie Shen and John Benson

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, strategic management, economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, corporate social responsibility, environmental economics


The concept of sustainability is often seen by organizations as part of their corporate social responsibilities (CSR) rather than as an integral part of their corporate objectives (Nidumolu et al., 2009). Yet organizations that have paid attention to environmental integrity and social equity have improved their long-term economic prosperity (Russo and Fouts, 1997; Waddock and Graves, 1997). Whilst sustainability research has been linked to a variety of issues it has only been in the last decade that research has specifically focused on the relationship between sustainability and human resource management (HRM). Much of this work has been exploratory and conceptual in nature (Ehnert, 2009) and this chapter follows in this tradition. In particular we argue that the best way to explore the link between sustainability and HRM is through CSR. This will allow for HRM to be redefined in terms of socially responsible behaviour that a company adopts towards both its employees and the wider society.

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