Purpose – The aim of the paper is to investigate social sustainability by focussing on the stakeholder theory and by presenting specific levers and capabilities for building more socially sustainable organizations. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on the analysis of recent academic and managerial literature. Through comparing theoretical and methodological perspectives from multiple authors, a specific theoretical and methodological viewpoint based on the stakeholder theory is proposed. Findings – The paper discusses the idea that building socially sustainable organisations requires the management of multi-stakeholder processes that are physiologically conflicting and that often create paradoxical tensions. Participative settings of action and reflection and capabilities as reflexivity and “paradoxical thinking” are proposed as key levers for dealing with multi-stakeholders processes towards a more socially sustainable organizing. Research limitations/implications – This paper raises reflections focussed on the “social pillar” of sustainability and does not consider different types of organizations in different multi-stakeholders processes. Such a perspective does not exhaust the variety of cases and research studies that could be considered in the field and further developed. Originality/value – The value of the paper is in its construction of a framework for both research and practical purposes in the domain of management and sustainability. The work also attempts to link the concepts of reflexivity and paradox to a methodological proposal for leading the organizational journey towards social sustainability.
- Paradox, Reflexivity, Social sustainability, Conflict management research, Multi-stakeholder processes