Learning Organization, Human Resource Management and Sustainability: Leading the future of organizations

Call for papers for: The Learning Organization

Guest Editors:

Jacky Hong, University of Macau

Carla Curado, ADVANCE/CSG, ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa

Paulo Lopes Henriques, ADVANCE/CSG, ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa


The issue of sustainability has gained increasing recognition among the scholars of learning organization (LO) in recent years (Örtenblad, 2013, 2015, 2019; Mak & Hong, 2020). In particular, a more eco-friendly and sustainable approach for developing LO is advocated as ‘antenarrative’ (Boje & Rosile, 2019) against the hegemonic discursive practices of profit-making and corporate value maximization. In this regard, Human Resource Management can promote a “sustainability mindset” (Ehnert & Harry, 2014) and contribute to address the sustainability challenges in LO. Nevertheless, it persists a lack of the required human resources to build the changes for sustainable LO (Singh et al., 2018).

Considering the digital transformation that fosters more sustainable organizations (Seele & Lock, 2017) and demands for a shift in the way that leadership is crafted (Van Wart, Roman, & Pierce, 2016), there has been a shift in focus for the role of e-leadership and sustainability (İnel, 2019). In addition, given the technology basis of the “home-office” situation, we wonder if the future post Covid-19 reality will establish a new rationale for human resources management that redesigns HRM practices to keep the engagement and commitment after the pandemic.

The intriguing link between LO, Human Resource Management and Sustainability invites us to reflect upon how Human Resource Management functions support organizations to reach the societal Sustainability goals. We believe that this special issue will be an opportunity for discussion in support of the implementation of the 2030 UN’s Agenda for sustainable development and its relation with the standing paradigm of capitalism.

This is a call for papers for an upcoming special issue of The Learning Organization (TLO). The special issue will be devoted to explorations of links between Human Resource Management, Learning Organizations and Sustainability. The editors are particularly seeking empirical contributions devoted to under-explored topics in Human Resource Management and Sustainability or offering fresh philosophical/methodological positions.

We invite research on employee well-being and inclusiveness (Barrena-Martinez et al., 2019) that addresses human resources policies and practices that are sensitive to multiple stakeholders and inclusive in nature. Human resource practices contribute to employees’ sustainable careers, thus it is particularly interesting study how to reshape jobs and enhance sustainable employability (Ybema et al., 2020) while respecting the local cultures and providing a support for organizational learning. We specially invite authors to explore the role of Human Resource Management green practices (Jerónimo et al., 2020) and how Human Resource Management contributes Sustainability-Oriented Performance (Muñoz-Pascual et al., 2020) in Learning Organizations. Research contributions from any viewpoints that represent a departure from the mainstream paradigm are welcome!

Submission Information

Paper submission is open to all participants of the 3rd international conference on Human Resource Management contribution to Sustainability hosted by ADVANCE/CSG, ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa and University of Macau. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2022. All submissions should follow the TLO author guidelines. Articles should be between 6000 and 8000 words in length, including all text, references and appendices. Please allow 280 words for each figure or table. Submissions to be made through the ScholarOne manuscript submission portal.


Barrena-Martínez, J., López-Fernández, M., & Romero-Fernández, P. M. (2019). Towards a configuration of socially responsible human resource management policies and practices: findings from an academic consensus. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30(17), 2544-2580.

Boje, D. & Rosile, G. A. (2019). An antenarrative amendment to the learning organization: Theories to avert the sixth extinction. In A. Örtenblad (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the Learning Organization, pp. 429-444. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ehnert, I., Harry, W, & Zink, K. J. (2014). Sustainability and HRM: An introduction to the field. In I. Ehnert, W. Harry and K.J. Zink (Eds.), Sustainability and Human Resource Management: Developing sustainable business organizations. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer, pp.3-32.

İnel, M. N. (2019). An empirical study on measurement of efficiency of digital transformation by using data envelopment analysis. Management Science Letters, 9(4), 549-556.

Jerónimo, H.M., Henriques, P.L., Lacerda, T.C., da Silva, F.P., & Vieira, P.R. (2020). Going green and sustainable: The influence of green HR practices on the organizational rationale for sustainability. Journal of Business Research, 112, 413-421.

Mak, C. & Hong, J. (2020). Creating a learning organization 2.0: A contextualized and multi-stakeholder approach. The Learning Organization, 27(3), 235-248.

Muñoz-Pascual, L., Galende, J., & Curado, C. (2020). Human Resource Management Contributions to Knowledge Sharing for a Sustainability-Oriented Performance: A Mixed Methods Approach. Sustainability, 12, 161, https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010161

Örtenblad, A. (2013). Who is the learning organization for? A stakeholder contingency approach to contextualizing managerial panaceas. In A. Örtenblad (ed.) Handbook of Research on the Learning Organization: Adaptation and Context, pp. 289-305. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Örtenblad, A. (2015). Toward increased relevance: Context-adapted models of the learning organization. The Learning Organization, 22(3), 163-181.

Örtenblad, A. (2019). Suggestions for future research on the learning organization. In A. Örtenblad (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of the Learning Organization, pp. 477-486. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Singh, S., Olugu. E. U., Musa, S. N., & Mahat, A. B. (2018). Fuzzy-based sustainability evaluation method for manufacturing SMEs using balanced scorecard framework. Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, 29, 1-18.

Seele, P., & Lock, I. (2017). The game-changing potential of digitalization for sustainability: possibilities, perils, and pathways. Sustainability Science, 12, 183-185.

Van Wart, M., Roman, A., & Pierce, S. (2016). The rise and effect of virtual modalities and functions on organizational leadership: tracing conceptual boundaries along the e-management and e-leadership continuum. Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences, (Special Issue), 102-122.

Ybema, J. F., van Vuuren, T., & van Dam, K. (2020). HR practices for enhancing sustainable employability: implementation, use, and outcomes. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 31(7), 886-907.