Edited by Yipeng Liu
Chapter 10: Talents for key positions in organizations: Sustainability management as a profession
These days, a new corporate function is expected to act as a change agent for advancing sustainability in organizations: the sustainability manager. In this chapter, two research streams are combined, that is, sustainability management and literature on professions in order to answer two research questions: first, whether sustainability management can be considered a key profession in an organization; and second, how talent management can identify talents for the position of sustainability manager. Based on seven interviews with sustainability managers from different German companies, important insights on the current developmental stage of sustainability management as a profession can be made. Regarding the necessary competencies, our results indicate, in line with previous research findings, that the focus seems to lie more on soft than hard skills. Especially in large companies, sustainability managers are bridging various corporate functions and can thereby be characterized as talents. Since the employment of a sustainability manager can send a significant message to an organization’s stakeholders, talent management should help to promote the professionalization by encouraging acceptance and developing specific training possibilities.
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