Our research takes the standpoint that new realities and the combined instrumental processes of globalization, individualization, technologicalization and financialization are not only mainly acting to disrupt the ability of traditional businesses to operate successfully and to develop holistically, but also fundamentally challenge the sustainable credentials of hierarchical ontologies and ideologies of growth and the legitimacy of associated and widely-accepted business (and HRM) models. We critically argue that organizations and HRM have now a heightened obligation to develop more socially responsible policies, strategies and practices, which go far beyond mere monetary concerns, risk-aversion, compliance, green interventions and opportunistic strategies of economic gain.
However, due to a now well-established and seldom questioned pro-economic systemic bias, and the orthodox need to meet shareholders return-on-investment demands, corporations are finding it very burdensome to think “out of the box “, to adapt innovatively to change and to create shared-value and “win-win” situations, where shareholder-needs are harmonized with concerns of societal- (and ecological) wellbeing. Within current asymmetrical, myopic perceptions of value-creation, it is questionable therefore whether business and HRM can successfully navigate the path to a sustainable future.
Specifically, our research is fully-embedded in the recent Sustainable HRM debate. However, in contrast to earlier proposals, our rationale is based on the alternative understanding that “business case” attempts at making HRM more sustainable, such as Humanistic, CSR and Triple-Bottom-Line, are still firmly shaped by shareholder-capitalism, are mainly inward-looking, are anchored in an ontology of individual self-interest and competition and are as a result, proving ineffectual, especially with regard to societal, common-good impact. This highlights the need for a new model, which transcends concepts of economic methodological reductionism and which is based on the critical and collectivist principles of collective-responsibility, solidarity, communality, co-operation, trustworthiness and consensus.