Special Issue "People—the Next Sustainability Frontier"

A special issue of Merits (ISSN 2673-8104).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2023 | Viewed by 1256

Special Issue Editor

1. Rutgers School of Public Health, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA
2. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Interests: transformational leadership; governance models; sustainability for a just transition; change management; change agency; empowerment; social networks; stakeholder engagement; radical collaboration; higher education
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to contribute to this Merits Special Issue, “People—the Next Sustainability Frontier”.

People, planet, and shared prosperity—the three pillars of sustainability. While matters relating to the environment dominate the research narrative given the climate crisis, there is an urgent need to consider people as the next sustainability frontier. Mitigation and adaptation efforts and a focus on effecting a just transition demand new social and governance models that are able to deliver change. In turn, new leadership attributes, competencies, and behaviors are called for. Institutions and organizations do not change—people do!

The recent COVID-19 pandemic revealed new facets of humanity at work and how trust fuels worker engagement and productivity. Leaders emerged at every level, displaying humility and empathy, and focused on creating workplaces where people could thrive. A sense of shared purpose enabled people to meet a global adaptive challenge and develop new capacities and skills. As the Sustainable Development Goals point the way to creating a world that leaves no one behind, Merits seeks to capture the leading research in the field of people and work and the move from an employer-led to employee-led work force. As the recent Merits Editorial made clear, people matter!

This Merits Special Issue, “People—the Next Sustainability Frontier”, invites researchers to share their studies, insights, and considered views through Merits to illustrate how business and organizations can enable people to reach their full potential and address the fierce urgency of global sustainability challenges through their work and wider community efforts. Means to creating an environment where people can flourish at work calls for new models and frameworks across the board, from job design and performance metrics to talent management and succession planning, and everything in between. Equity is a foundational sustainability construct that, in regard to work, needs to support people in being their authentic self. A more just, equitable, and sustainable future relies on people in private, public, and plural organizations to facilitate these global shifts.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Adaptive leadership;
  • Advancing equity and belonging;
  • Corporate social innovation/responsibility;
  • Creating and sustaining more inclusive workplaces;
  • Employee engagement;
  • Flourishing at work;
  • Governance models and frameworks;
  • Leadership of change;
  • Partnership working;
  • Performance and productivity;
  • Public–private–plural partnerships;
  • Shared value creation;
  • Social networks and hierarchy;
  • Sustainability and worker health;
  • Sustainability leadership.

I look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Wendy M. Purcell
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Merits is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • sustainability
  • leadership
  • governance
  • job performance
  • productivity
  • human resources
  • change management
  • people at work
  • equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging
  • flourishing

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Finnish Police Supervisors’ Conceptions of Workplace Learning and Its Sustainability
Merits 2023, 3(2), 332-350; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3020019 - 04 May 2023
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Workplace learning (WPL) is a complex phenomenon involving the intertwined processes of working and learning. Recent studies have shown the importance of sustainable perspectives in WPL situations. In the literature, sustainable development is still predominantly referred to environmental, economic and social sustainability. In [...] Read more.
Workplace learning (WPL) is a complex phenomenon involving the intertwined processes of working and learning. Recent studies have shown the importance of sustainable perspectives in WPL situations. In the literature, sustainable development is still predominantly referred to environmental, economic and social sustainability. In this study, sustainable perspectives denote the widespread use of previous knowledge, the rapid application of new knowledge and the effects of this knowledge on well-being, thus leaning on human sustainability. The purpose of this study is to examine conceptions of WPL among Finnish police supervisors and to reveal whether sustainable learning perspectives manifest. Eight thematic interviews were analysed using phenomenographic and theory-driven content analyses. The analysis produced six main categories of WPL, and sustainable learning perspectives manifested in all categories. This study confirms previous findings regarding WPL and presents similarities in sustainable learning perspectives to those found in previous research. Learning outcomes can be improved by understanding WPL conceptions and sustainable learning perspectives; thus, the findings of this study can help organisations, supervisors and human resources better plan and implement sustainable WPL possibilities for employees and their careers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue People—the Next Sustainability Frontier)
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