From “the hippies on the third floor” to the C-suite.
Sammanfattning: Background: Managers working with sustainability and environmental issues are receiving higher priority in organizations (Knight & Paterson, 2018) and the environmental issues are today discussed at the top management level in corporations worldwide (Landrum, 2017). In line with the increased interest of the role, literature focusing on the individual sustainability manager, has recognized the need for competencies and motivational drivers in order to take sustainable actions (Wiek et al., 2011; UNESCO, 2017; Rieckmann, 2018). In addition, literature presents a significant positive relationship between motivations of individual managers and firm performance. However, previous literature covering key competencies for sustainable development, as well as individual motivations for working with sustainability, is rather ambiguous. Therefore, the authors identified a gap in the literature and initiated an interest to further investigate the key competencies and individual motivations of a sustainability manager operating in Sweden today. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the individual sustainability manager operating in Sweden today. The study aims to identify the key competencies required for operating in the role, and to explain corresponding underlying motivations for working with sustainability. Method: The study follows a qualitative and exploratory approach by combining existing literature, theories and empirical data. The empirical data was collected through six semi-structured interviews. The empirical findings were further analyzed following a thematic analysis technique. Conclusion: The authors suggest a proposed framework that illustrates the identified key competencies required for operating as a sustainability manager in Sweden today, as well as the underlying motivations for working with corporate sustainability. The illustration of the proposed framework provides a generalized foundation for understanding the sustainability manager role in terms of key competencies and individual motivations. This framework adds to current literature on the topic of sustainability management and can be used as a means for evaluating current sustainability managers, as well as a means to analyze current education for sustainable development.
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