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The psychological concept of social sustainability in the workplace from the perspective of sustainable goals: A systematic review.

  • Kobal Grum D; Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
    Babnik K; Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  • Frontiers in psychology [Front Psychol] 2022 Aug 15; Vol. 13, pp. 942204. Date of Electronic Publication: 2022 Aug 15 (Print Publication: 2022).
  • English
  • Unlike environmental sustainability, social sustainability in the workplace is a relatively new concept that is still searching for its own definition and explanation. Therefore, in this paper, we systematically reviewed and critically evaluated recent research on this topic. In doing so, we identified important constructs that help us better define and understand the phenomenon of social sustainability in the workplace. We focused on articles from 2016 to 2022 with content related to three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely health and wellbeing (SDG-3), gender equality (SDG-5), and decent work (SDG-8). Given the harrowing events of the past 2 years, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global impact of the war in Ukraine, we also wanted to learn whether other categories, such as security (SDG-11) and peace (SDG-16), are embedded in the concept of social sustainability at work. The articles we studied were found through EBSCOhost, specifically in the Academic Search Complete, Business Source Premier, APA PsycInfo, SocINDEX with Full Text, and GreenFILE databases. We selected 67 articles and organized them according to the four levels of research and practice in work and organizational psychology. In reviewing the literature, we identified several constructs that can be classified at four levels of interest in work and organizational psychology. At the level focused on the job/work, we identified two main topics: (i) sustainable job/work characteristics and (ii) sustainable job (re)design. At the people-focused level, we identified the following topics: (i) pro-sustainable self-system, (ii) pro-sustainable job attitudes and motivation, (iii) sustainability work environment perceptions and other mediating mechanisms, and (iv) sustainable job behavior. The organization-focused level includes (i) organizations as human systems and (ii) pro-sustainable organizational policies and practices. The last (society-focused) level is defined by two main topics: (i) understanding society as a human system and (ii) pro-social mechanisms. In the discussion, we categorized specific constructs identified within the described focus levels into the theoretical model describing the psychological concept of social sustainability in the workplace from the perspective of sustainable goals.
    Competing Interests: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
    (Copyright © 2022 Kobal Grum and Babnik.)
Additional Information
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation Country of Publication: Switzerland NLM ID: 101550902 Publication Model: eCollection Cited Medium: Print ISSN: 1664-1078 (Print) Linking ISSN: 16641078 NLM ISO Abbreviation: Front Psychol Subsets: PubMed not MEDLINE
Original Publication: Pully, Switzerland : Frontiers Research Foundation
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Keywords: psychology; social sustainability; sustainable developmental goals; systematic review; workplace
Date Created: 20220901 Latest Revision: 20220907