Green HRM practices in private health care & banking sectors in India.

Author:Bose, Indranil


The concept of green HRM emerged in the backdrop of green business practices. Though, no specific source is found on the introduction of the concept of green HRM, different scholars have related the evolution of the concept as the embedded practices of sustainable management, which became growingly popular since 1990s. Scholars like Thomson and Leviski (2011), Ratnesh (2011), Liberd (2012), Robert and Timber (2013) have identified the inevitability of the emergence and growing popularity of green HRM, in the situation of large scale automation and de-humanization of a major portion of former HR functions in many parts of the world. According to them, HR decisions and tools have become growingly dependent on different automated technologies, softwares and virtual technologies, where traditional ways of HR interventions have been largely reduced over the period of last decade of 1990 and first decade of 2000. Ratnesh (2011) in his study on Indian organizations, showed that during 1995-2000 period, the spread of such practices was only around 12% and that also in large scale organizations; which witnessed a phenomenal growth from 2001 to 2005 and such spread reached the level of 43%. The study further concluded that, these organizations have adopted green HRM practices in most of the major HR functions like training, salary and compensation, career management, recruitment, employee performance management etc., which were earlier being practiced traditionally. Thomson and Leviski (2011) in their study on the economically advanced countries of Europe found that, the spread of green HR as a popular practice was speeded up during 2005-2010, mainly in countries like Germany, Austria, France and Spain. They have, however, linked this development to the growing adoption of sustainable management practices in these countries. Robert and Timber (2013), in their study on service organizations, based in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, have held effective decision making, better precision in operational implementations and reduction of manpower cost responsible for the growing popularity of green management in general, and green HR practices in particular over a period of time. Therefore, it can be assumed that green HR has evolved due to different reasons, some of which are purely commercial and operational and some others parts of overall development in the strategic business environment.

Green HRM: The concept

The concept of green HRM has been defined by different scholars in different ways. Kennedy and Toffler (2014) have referred 'Green HRM' as all those activities, involved in development, implementation and on-going maintenance of a system that aims at making the employees of an organization green. According to them, it is the side of HRM that is concerned with transforming normal employees into green employees so as to achieve environmental goals of the organization and finally to make a significant contribution to environmental sustainability. Almost same observation can be found in the definition given by Watson and Kavid (2014), where green HRM has been explained as the set of policies, practices and strategies pertaining to HR discipline, which can ensure the achievement of overall sustainable business model in an organization. Peter and Lanos (2015), on the other hand have defined green HR as the initiatives to reduce wastes. Their observation has remained focused on resource wastage in an organization, which traditional HR has been accused of. Scholars like Opatha and Arulrajah (2014) have defined green HRM somewhat differently. According to them, the effort to establish the green HRM practices attempts to create, enhance and retain greening within the employee of the organization so that he or she gives maximum individual contribution on each of the four roles of any sustainable business model such as preservation, conservation, non-polluting and making. However, functional dimensions of green HRM have been linked to the aspects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices too by some scholars. Studies by Rothenberg (2003), Jabbour and Santos (2008), Cetro and Cetro (2008 & 2012), Renwick et al. (2011), Jackson et al. (2011) have emphasized the key involvement of human resource of the organization for effective implementation of green HR functions. According to them, green HR should focus on a few things such as building green competencies (building knowledge and skill about greening), developing green attitude (divided into cognitive aspect-believing in greening, affective aspect-positive feeling about greening; behavioral aspect-intention to behave positively and green behavior-green organizational citizenship behavior, green interpersonal citizenship behavior and green official behavior; green results-innovations and green outcomes). Therefore, different dimensions of research are available in the field of green HR practices.

Literature: Overview

The first significant research in the field of green HR was found in the work by Wehmeyer (1996). Based on the study of more than hundred small and medium scale organizations in Europe, the research concluded that recruitment remains the most crucial function of green HR initiatives. According to the study recruitment could support effective environment management by ensuring that new recruits understand an organization's environmental culture. Stringer (2009) has also emphasized on recruitment as the most important tool for effective green HR practice implementation. However, their observations have mainly been concentrated on the relationship between employer branding initiatives and green HR...

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