HRM institutional entrepreneurship for sustainable business organizations

Shuang Ren, Susan E. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


As businesses experience greater pressures from a variety of stakeholders concerned with promoting a balanced approach to managing the competing demands for increased profitability, improved social conditions, and restoring the health of planet earth, new opportunities arise for HRM scholars and professionals to contribute to the pursuit of sustainability. However, the foundational logic of sustainability diverges significantly from the dominant perspective in today's business environment. Building upon the institutional theory literature, we introduce the concept of HRM institutional entrepreneurship to examine the paradoxes and emerging opportunities associated with the urgent need for more sustainable approaches for managing business organizations. As a guide to future work, we describe how the actions of HRM scholars and professionals can stimulate evolution from an HRM philosophy that relies on financial indicators to assess effectiveness towards an HRM philosophy that promotes a tripartite approach to sustainability, showing equal concern for economic, environmental and social performance. Focusing on organizational changes that improve environmental performance, we apply the concept of HRM institutional entrepreneurship to consider ways for HRM professionals to engage internal and external stakeholders in order to create value in organizations pursuing sustainability. Ultimately, activities that constitute HRM institutional entrepreneurship for sustainable business drive the development of capabilities that characterize ambidextrous organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100691
JournalHuman Resource Management Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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