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

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBenchmarking: An International Journal
Number of pages27
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

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