Individual change agents for corporate sustainability transformation: a systematic literature review

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenÜbersichtsarbeitenForschung


Purpose – Individual change agents for corporate sustainability can drive the transformation of organizations and foster sustainable development. Current research literature is growing and is published in a wide variety of journals. This systematic literature review provides an overview and synthesis of different understandings of individual change agents for corporate sustainability transformation. It identifies gaps and puts forward propositions to contribute to theoretical development in the field.
Design/methodology/approach – This paper conducts a systematic literature review and thematic content analysis of individual agency in light of corporate sustainability transformation.
Findings – The analysis identifies five research streams, three key dimensions of individual change agency for sustainability (beliefs, actions and competencies) and presents levels of individual agency for transformation. An integrated definition of change agents for sustainability is proposed.
Research limitations/implications – The review concludes with implications to support individuals in fostering sustainability transformations of organizations, markets and societies. The synthesis and propositions help in identifying which dimensions are already and could in future be addressed by individual change agents. While acknowledging the usual limitations of literature reviews, this paper can inspire future empirical research on the effectiveness of individual change agents for sustainability.
Originality/value – By synthesizing different understandings in the literature of individual change agents for sustainability, this article contributes to the theoretical development of individual agency in the areas of understandings, research streams, dimensions and perspectives. It also develops propositions on how individual change agency can effectively contribute to sustainability transformations at individual, organizational and systems levels.
ZeitschriftBenchmarking: An International Journal
Seiten (von - bis)4221–4247
Anzahl der Seiten27
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.12.2023

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
This research has profited from funding by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, project no. 12.5.F082.0021.0. The entire research process from study design to submission was exclusively designed and conducted by the authors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.