PARADOXES, DUALITIES AND DILEMMAS: UNDERSTANDING SUSTAINABILITY IN HRM
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AbstractResearch in progress. Please do not circulate, quote, or cite. Comments, suggestions are very welcome. The paper contributes to the emerging literature linking sustainability as a concept to problems researched in HRM literature. Sustainability is often equated with social responsibility. However, emphasizing mainly moral or ethical values neglects that sustainability can also be economically rational. This conceptual paper discusses how the notion of sustainability has developed and emerged in HRM literature. A typology of sustainability concepts in HRM is presented to advance theorizing in the field of Sustainable HRM. The concepts of paradox, duality, and dilemma are reviewed to contribute to understanding the emergence of sustainability in HRM. It is argued in this paper that sustainability can be applied as a concept to cope with the tensions of short- vs. long-term HRM and to make sense of paradoxes, dualities, and dilemmas. Furthermore, it is emphasized that the dualities cannot be reconciled when sustainability is interpreted in a way that leads to ignorance of one of the values or logics. Implications for further research and modest suggestions for managerial practice are derived.