The Role of HRD in CSR, Sustainability, and Ethics: A Relational Model

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This article proposes a theoretical model linking human resource development (HRD), corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate sustainability (CS), and business ethics. The model development was informed by Pierre Bourdieu's relational theory of power and practice, and by Norbert Elias' and Michel Foucault's theories of power and knowledge. The model suggests that CSR, CS, and ethics are parts of the same organizational subsystem, shaped by a complex interaction between human capital, individual moral development, habitus (mindsets, dispositions), organizational practices and culture, and external situational factors. The generative mechanism, or motor, driving the development and change of organizational culture, consists of power relationships that are shaped by specific figurations of various types of human capital (social, cultural, economic, and symbolic). HRD can influence this system by engaging in culture change efforts, ethics and CS-/CSR-related education and training on all levels of the organization, and raising awareness of issues of power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-473
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Resource Development Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • CSR
  • HRD
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • business ethics
  • corporate social responsibility
  • corporate sustainability
  • social capital


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