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Sustainability in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises : A case study on the Human Resource practices in the Jönköping region

  • Moquist Sundh, Ellinor
  • Miras Olsson, Elsa
  • Stoica, Alexandru
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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Background: Sustainability is a growing trend which companies should acknowledge and incorporate. The role HR can be a direct contributor in the integration of sustainability. SMEs’ characteristics can facilitate the implementation of sustainability, which can be a source of competitive advantage. Purpose: To examine the integration of sustainability through HR practices in SMEs, in the Jönköping region. Method: An exploratory and an abductive approach were used to fulfill the purpose of the thesis. The explanation building strategy was used to analyze the data. Theories from the literature were compared with the empirical findings to identify patterns, based on the categories within the HR practices. The empirical data followed a qualitative method and was based on a multiple-case study, consisting of ten interviews with SMEs. Main findings: SMEs in the Jönköping region had a high level of understanding in terms of sustainability. The HR practices were utilized for a better integration of sustainability. Incorporating sustainability in the firm’s values was the most effective way. This was achieved through integrating sustainability in the different HR practices; by communicating its value to employees, emphasizing it during the recruitment to assure value alignment, as well as explaining it during training activities. Managerial implications: The findings showed that managers could benefit from considering the suggested HR practices for the integration of sustainability. As a result, other regions in Sweden can take advantage and learn from the case of the Jönköping region.

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