The following seven papers are published in a special issue on Green (environmental) HRM of The
International Journal of Human Resource Management, 2016, volume 27(2).
Green and nongreen recruitment practices for attracting job applicants: exploring independent and interactive effects.
Marco Guerci, Fabrizio Montanari, Annachiara Scapolan & Antonella Epifanio.
The study is based on the reactions of a sample of Italian graduate students to the websites of seven companies operating in Italy. It addresses two specific issues in the literature about green recruiting practices, namely
(1) the distinct and direct effects of green recruiting practices on attracting applicants, and
(2) the interactive effect of ‘green’ and ‘nongreen’ recruitment practices on attracting applicants.
With regard to the first issue, the study compares the effects on attracting applicants of two green recruitment practices, that is, the green reputation of a company, and the amount of information provided on the recruitment website about the company’s environmental policies and practices.
With regard to the second issue, the study examines the substitution effect on attracting applicants between the two green recruitment practices, and additive effects on attracting applicants between them and two nongreen recruitment practices (i.e., company reputation, and the amount of company and job information provided by the company recruitment website).
In terms of direct effects, the findings support the impact of a green reputation on attracting applicants, but no impact of information on the recruitment website about company environmental policies and practices.
In terms of interactive effects, the findings do not confirm the substitution effects between green recruitment practices, but indicate additive effects between green and nongreen recruitment practices. Overall, the article extends knowledge on green recruitment by contributing to the literature on organizational reputation, and the literature on interactive effects among human resource practices. The implications of these two extensions of knowledge for human resource management research and practice are discussed.
Green competence framework: evidence from China
Nachiappan Subramanian, Muhammad D. Abdulrahman, Lin Wu & Prithwiraj Nath.
Recently human resources management functions such as recruitment, selection, training and performance evaluation are expected in considering environmental management issues. Environmental protective acts with adequate ecological knowledge and socio-economic behavior and skills are referred to in this paper as green competencies (GCs). However, a systematic approach for developing and understanding key factors that enhance individuals’ GCs is lacking.
This study contributes to green human resource literature by integrating environmental consumer behavior literature with traditional skills and competencies literature to help firms to select the right individuals to achieve their environmental goals. Using Robert’s competencies framework and structural equation modeling, this paper empirically examines the influence of individual GCs on organizations’ green practices and performance objectives. Our model is tested using a sample of 1230 employees working in key industries in the Chinese coastal city of Ningbo.
The results indicate that acquired GCs are more positively associated with individuals’ GCs and green behavior. The study empirically demonstrates that verifying acquired GC attributes such as environmental knowledge, green purchase attitude and intention during employee selection would certainly be helpful for firms to identify individual green performance potential.
Employee participation and carbon emissions reduction in Australian workplaces
Raymond Markey, Joseph McIvor & Chris F. Wright.
This paper addresses a research gap on the role of employee participation in motivating workplace climate change mitigation activities. Drawing upon a survey of 682 Australian employers and an analysis of 1329 enterprise agreements, we find strong associations between organisational activities for the reduction of carbon emissions and employee participation in motivating, developing and/or implementing these measures.
Engagement with emissions reduction at the workplace level is more likely where employee participation has a substantive role involving deeper and wider influence in organisational decision-making. This is especially the case when a range of approaches, including collective bargaining through trade unions, are utilised. Reflecting extant research on employee participation, this study confirms the importance of the concepts of depth and scope in evaluating the extent to which employee participation is substantive, and that different forms of participation have mutually reinforcing impacts over workplace decisions to reduce carbon emissions.
The findings presented suggest that the form of participation may be less important than the way in which it is implemented and the degree of substantive influence that employees have in practice.
Green human resource management: a comparative qualitative case study of a United States multinational corporation
Julie Haddock-Millar, Chandana Sanyal & Michael Müller-Camen.
Open access article – read the full text for free
This article explores the ways in which a multinational company approaches green human resource management (HRM) in its British, German and Swedish subsidiaries. The authors analyse the similarities and differences in Green HRM approaches in these three European subsidiaries of a US restaurant chain.
This enables the comparison of Green HRM practices and behaviours, and considers the factors that influence the subsidiaries in this particular domain. Therefore, this research addresses the current lack of international comparative research in the field of Green HRM. The methodological approach is a multi-case study with 50 participants, using semi-structured interviews and focus groups.
The results present evidence of proactive environmental management, reflected through a range of operational and people-centred initiatives across the three European countries. Although there is an overarching commitment to environmental sustainability, the positioning and alignment of the environment and HR function differ amongst the subsidiaries, as does the way in which the subsidiaries choose to engage the workforce in environmental sustainability. The study identified a number of factors that explain the differences in approaches including, amongst others, strategic and performance drivers and cultural dimensions, such as relationships with key stakeholders.
A paradox view on green human resource management: insights from the Italian context
Marco Guerci & Luca Carollo.
Paradox – understood as a set of contradictory and incompatible poles all supported by apparently sound arguments – is considered to be a key element in modern organizations. As a result, paradox scholars argue that successful managers are those able to accept the tensions arising from the paradox and able to pursue all its constitutive poles simultaneously instead of choosing only one of them. Paradox theory has been recently applied to corporate sustainability, and it is a theoretical approach that has been endorsed by influential authors also in the human resource management (HRM) field.
In this context, this paper takes the still unexplored opportunity to apply paradox theory to green HRM. In particular, it explores the HRM-related paradoxes perceived by organizations developing environmental sustainability via HRM. Adopting a comparative multiple case study approach, semi-structured interviews and document analysis were conducted in six Italian companies explicitly pursuing an environmental strategy.
The findings encompass the main characteristics of the green HRM systems of the organizations analyzed, and a list is provided of eight HRM-related paradoxes perceived by those organizations. For each paradox, we present and discuss its contrasting poles and the components of the HRM system that it affects. The implications of the findings for both green HRM research and practice are presented and discussed.
The moderating effect of ‘Green’ HRM on the association between proactive environmental management and financial performance in small firms
Wayne O’Donohue & Nuttaneeya (Ann) Torugsa.
Research has shown an association between proactive adoption of environmental management practices and firm performance; however little of this research, particularly in the small firm context, has examined the impact of human resources management (HRM) practices on that association. Using data drawn from a sample of 158 small firms in the Australian machinery and equipment-manufacturing sector, this article contributes an empirical test of the moderating effect of HRM on the association between proactive environmental management and firm financial performance.
In so doing, we draw on the concept of ‘Green’ HRM; that is to say, practices aligned with environmental sustainability goals and which aim at developing employees’ abilities, motivation and commitment, and involvement in support of those goals at the firm level.
The findings reveal that Green HRM positively moderates the association between proactive environmental management and financial performance, such that a high level of Green HRM increases the financial benefits of proactive environmental management compared with low levels of Green HRM. The findings show the added value that Green HRM provides when used as an enabler of proactive environmental management; this study should help allay concerns of small firms about the potential cost burden they may face from increasing governmental and social demands for environmental sustainability.
Translating stakeholder pressures into environmental performance – the mediating role of green HRM practices
Marco Guerci, Annachiara Longoni & Davide Luzzini.
This paper contributes to extant research on green human resource management (HRM) relying on the instrumental value of stakeholder theory, which implies that stakeholders impact on company decisions and their development of organizational resources and performance. Following that theory, the study conceives green HRM practices as a set of management processes that companies implement for responding to stakeholder pressures on environmental issues.
Accordingly with those premises, we empirically test the distinct role that different green HRM practices (i.e. green hiring, green training and involvement, and green performance management and compensation) play in mediating the relationship between pressures on environmental issues from two specific external stakeholders (i.e. customers and regulatory stakeholders) and environmental performance.
Our findings, based on a multi-respondent survey in which the respondents were Human Resource Managers and Supply Chain Managers operating in Italy, confirm the hypothesized mediation model. Our results (as well as their implications) are discussed in light of the recent calls to broaden the scope of HRM research, considering the embeddedness of the company in a socio-political context and exploring the role that actors and factors outside the company play in shaping its green HRM practices.