Employee representatives and a good working life: Achieving social and communicative sustainability for hrm

Isabell Koinig*, Franzisca Weder

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This article examines the role of employee representatives, who support HRM in positioning itself and the organization as “socially responsible”. Based on a constructivist understanding of organizational communication, employee representatives are examined as previously unrecognized entities that are responsible—and also essential—for guaranteeing a good working life, which also originates through communication. The article provides an overview of existing studies on employee representatives and their positions in companies and tries to bridge the gaps among organizational communication, CSR communication, and management theory by redesigning the role of employee representatives—who have received limited academic attention to date—as communicators. The insights from an international comparative study confirm that employee representatives perceive themselves not only as a “grief box” or “control body” of management, but also as a responsible agent and “medium” for the realization of social and communicative sustainability. This not only opens up new research perspectives, but also highlights the need to conceptually deal and theoretically discuss employee representatives and their roles in internal communication processes from the perspectives of organizational communication, HRM, CSR, and sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7537
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Corporate responsibility
  • Employee representatives
  • Good working life
  • HRM
  • Role models

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