The way human resources are managed has a significant influence on the performance of business organizations. According to Järlström et al. (2018), it could impact the return on investment, market share, and economic value. Human resource management (HRM) refers to such activities as recruiting and selecting workers, their induction, orientation, training, and development (Saeed et al., 2019). Suharti and Sugiarto (2020) note that any company that wishes to implement a different strategy must realign its HRM with that goal. For instance, achieving efficiency and reducing waste calls for a paradigm shift in how the workers are prepped for their duties and responsibilities.
Green HRM refers to the incorporation of ecological practices into traditional HRM. Firms that achieve the desired environmental sensitivity, efficient use of resources, and social responsibility demonstrate a unique pattern. They all seem to have instituted policies that encourage green behavior (Miroshnychenko et al., 2017). Consequently, there is room for individual employees to do their part in minimizing waste generation. Each of them champions practices that reduce defects, overproduction, unnecessary transportation, idleness, and over-processing (Sardana, 2018). Therefore, business enterprises which have become indeed green did so by empowering the workers to be innovative.
There are a couple of ways of reducing waste and achieving efficiency in the manufacturing process. The most important one is inventory management, and producers accomplish this through proper control of the raw materials (Raharjo, 2019). In addition to ordering only the necessary amount of inputs, trends show that systems that can reduce harmful emissions are being implemented (Shah, 2019). These favorable results are achieved by firms whose workers are empowered and hence creative. Therefore, two important objectives are performed simultaneously, and they represent what is referred to as eco-efficiency.
Ecology, Equity, and the Economy
Green approaches help to prevent a scenario where the environment is stretched beyond its carrying capacity. According to (Järlström et al., 2018), knowledge on how to be eco-efficient is being sourced from fields such as earth science, green chemistry, and conservation biology. Others are environmental science and such new areas as environmental engineering (Saeed et al., 2019). All these knowledge areas are geared towards understanding how human activities impact natural ecosystems and how the latter’s effect on the former can be controlled.
Trends show that among the resources business organizations are targeting in their environmental conservation efforts include energy and water. Incidentally, the more these two are utilized, the higher is the amount of waste emitted into the environment (Sardana, 2018). Conversely, Zoogah (2018) indicates that with an increased level of employees’ sensitization on the need to conserve the ecosystems, the capacity to reduce the resultant carbon footprint is enhanced. Moreover, such firms improve their economic value, and therefore, efficiency is a competitive strategy (Dumont et al., 2017). This kind of background information is needed to convince the stakeholders of the need to seek eco-efficiency actively.
Clients respond positively when an organization becomes environmentally conscious because this helps to improve their wellbeing as well. In their bid to avail into the market competitively-priced commodities, firms must not overlook the wider society’s expectations. There is a demand for companies to reduce their environmental impact and improve the quality of life while seeking to optimize the economic gains (Zoogah, 2018). The concepts behind economic prowess, conservation, and social justice are intertwined, and firms that disregard that interconnection undermine their own sustainability.
Effectiveness of Eco-Efficiency in Achieving Sustainability
Eco-efficiency is an important tool for promoting the transformation from unsustainable to sustainable economic activities. It is quantified as the ratio between the value of production and the environmental impact this process creates (Sardana, 2018). Green HRM calls on the management to enable the workers to retain the same production standards while minimizing waste discharge (Dumont et al., 2017). An empowered human resource is constituted of individuals who can brainstorm solutions.
The bottom-up idealization is important as it gives prominence to the suggestions of individuals on the ground. It is a process that only works when the ordinary employees are creative, and they have a channel for sharing views with their superiors (Raharjo, 2019). Executive management is essential, as it helps set the policy direction. Nevertheless, ordinary workers are required to realign their tactical moves with the desired conservation targets (Davis et al., 2020). There should be a system that facilitates interactions between the two parties.
Aims and Objectives
The following aims are expected to be achieved:
- Exploring the ways of safeguarding the environment as a business organization seeks to achieve its commercial-related goals. It will commence by defining the essence of environmental management.
- Discovering the means of facilitating environmental justice. It is deemed a facilitator of improved quality of life among the residents of the geographical location in question.
- Identifying the ways how green management impacts a company’s performance. This will be coupled with auditing to ascertain if what is planned for is achieved.
The following objectives are predicated on the assumption that the foundation for the desired improvements is eco-efficiency. It facilitates the reduction of the number of resources used, hence mitigating environmental impact while still ending up with the optimal quantity and quality of production (Järlström et al., 2018). In that case, exploration is being made on the factors which are believed to influence eco-efficiency.
- To evaluate the influence of recruitment and selection on eco-efficiency.
- To determine the contribution that working conditions has on eco-efficiency.
- To explore the effect of training and development on eco-efficiency.
The null hypotheses are that the three factors have no influence at all on eco-efficiency and hence do not contribute to the attainment of environmental justice, improvement in organizational performance, and achievement of social justice.
Organizations that incorporate environmental conservation goals in their HRM perform are a lot better than those which do not. According to Zoogah (2018), this is because they attain eco-efficiency, thus saving overheads while also reducing their emission levels. Studies have concluded that despite the ever-increasing level of competition, such firms optimize their product market and financial performance, and their shareholders benefit from improved returns (Raharjo, 2019). These successes are attained by having a competent and empowered workforce.
Green Human Resource Management and Eco-Efficiency
Eco-efficiency is a concept that borrows from both the economy and efficiency. Essentially, it is the idea that ecological damage can be mitigated even as the level of efficiency is maximized. Companies worldwide have adopted this management philosophy, and it has helped a significant number of them streamline the utilization of raw materials, energy, and water (Miroshnychenko et al., 2017). Shah (2019) opines that some firms have broadened the concept and are now recycling as much as possible. By embracing eco-efficiency, therefore, organizations have reduced the human ecological load.
Based on eco-efficiency, green HRM refers to a specific set of processes that the seniors in organizations must activate. The employees must be briefed on the need to produce more commodities with fewer raw materials. It is also part of the corporate social responsibility to make commodities that are long-lasting, and hence the members of staff must embody workmanship (Suharti & Sugiarto, 2020). All this is done with the realization of the fact that natural resources are limited, and there is a limit that should not be exceeded.
Some individuals hold the view that profit maximization is the only goal that matters. That philosophy is true in some sense but also faulty in another. While entrepreneurs’ main goal is to make money, the most logical philosophy holds that businesspeople must also do all they can to ensure the sustainability of their economic activities (Sardana, 2018). This calls for some steps since resources are limited, and it is also noteworthy that clients prefer to partner with good corporate citizens (Dumont et al., 2017). The green approaches are mutually beneficial, and that is why factors such as recruitment and selection, working conditions, as well as training and development should be blended in a way that helps achieve eco-efficiency.
Theme 1: Recruitment, Selection, and Eco-Efficiency
During recruitment, the management has the first opportunity to assess the individuals’ guiding principles in life as it pertains to their planned career. Personal philosophy influences not just their way of thinking but also the words they say and the steps likely to be taken in any given situation. By being meticulous during this initial interaction; therefore, the HR department can predict the default positions that their future employees will probably take. In addition to this, Raharjo (2019) argues that it is important to assess if these individuals are committed or if they can be influenced to alter their positions. If someone is unlikely to change their mind and hold opinions contrary to the organization’s stated objectives, it means that they are not suitable for the job.
Theme 2: Working Conditions and Eco-Efficiency
The organization may have pro-conservation policies and hire people who are committed to the green approaches. Nevertheless, it takes a lot more than that to achieve eco-efficiency and to acquire the benefits that result from that. For example, conditions should be right in regards to facilitating employee communication and participation. According to Dumont et al. (2017), workers who are enabled with necessary materials and are guided through are more zealous in seeking eco-efficiency than those who are not. Companies whose staff members are dissatisfied have a high employee turnover, which further complicates HRM (Aguinis & Solarino, 2019; Davis et al., 2020). It becomes an expensive process, and the stakeholders in charge of the relevant roles are overworked.
Theme 3: Training, Development, and Eco-Efficiency
The output of an organization is always the sum of the individual achievements of its employees. In order to increase the sole attainments, training and development should be undertaken at the appropriate times. Training refers to the program that enables the organization to strengthen the skills of each of their workers, hence empowering them towards the improvement of their service delivery (Zoogah, 2018). On its part, development is meant to ensure that there is a general improvement of each individual in the workforce. Ultimately, they end up having similar levels of knowledge and skills. Development is also done regarding those who have been identified for promotion (Saeed et al., 2019). They are equipped with the expertise they need to serve in roles that are much bigger than those they currently hold.
Environmental Management and ISO Certification
ISO certification is vital for organizations, and this is because it shows that a firm is engaging in the right processes. It is an assurance that the commodities and the processes used in their production conform to specific requirements. According to Shah (2019), organizations that acquire ISO certification tend to have a polished management system and an improved manufacturing process. They have documentation procedures and also meet the requirements for quality assurance and standardization. The term ISO is derived from the significant word isos, which means ‘equal’ (Zoogah, 2018). It implies that ISO-certified organizations have consistent processes, meaning that the stakeholders have the blueprint for completing their responsibilities (Davis et al., 2020). Regularity also facilitates them with the grounds they would require if there were a need for improvement.
Related certifications are often grouped together, and this is mainly meant to reduce the challenge of making references. ISO certifications for proper environmental management are found within the 14000 families (Zoogah, 2018). The practical tools that companies need to realize their conservation goals are found within that package. Moreover, included are the approaches that a firm would use to streamline their communication and audit efforts, as well as life-cycle analyses (Saeed et al., 2019). Life-cycle sustainability assessment (or LCSA) is the evaluation of the benefits and/or drawbacks of the decisions made, especially regarding the issues of economic, social, and environmental nature.
Modern Organization and Environmental Stewardship
An organization must appreciate that it has a wide variety of stakeholders, and each of the categories has expectations. Achieving environmental sustainability is a massive challenge for organizations, especially considering that only a handful of employees have background training and experience of what needs to be done (Dumont et al., 2017). The views of shareholders, policymakers, the executive, and every other group of interested parties must be brought on board for the relevant approaches to be effectively instituted (Suharti & Sugiarto, 2020). A standard such as 14001 is a tool that facilitates a continued improvement. This standard has been recognized globally, and at least 300,000 corporations have been certified (Sardana, 2018). Environmental stewardship is part of corporate social responsibility, a way to meet legal requirements, and a means of meeting the expectations of the legitimate stakeholders.
Standards are an organized method of engaging the employees in the process of meeting environmental commitments. According to Shah (2019), an organization that gets certified attains a competitive advantage, and this is due to its culture being clearly distinguished from those of the rivals. Indeed, the business enterprise acquires financial benefits since the workers are able to eliminate inefficiencies and improve their performance (Zoogah, 2018). An international certification standard has a significant number of contributors, and hence the best practices being proposed are peer-reviewed, tested, and proven to be worthy of adoption (Järlström et al., 2018). Standards are also improved from time to time in order to accommodate the emergent trends and any deficiencies that could be identified (Davis et al., 2020). Therefore, a firm that is committed to eco-efficiency and is looking forward to gain from all the benefits that come as a result should seek certification.
Due to the value of eco-efficiency in business management, the various green approaches which help achieve it deserve assessed through a preliminary study. It will be done through a case study of explanatory nature. Data will be gathered through the use of in-depth interviews, although this will be completed virtually due to the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic (Teti et al., 2020). It is expected that there will be a high response rate considering that the geographical, time, and cost barriers will have been eliminated.
The study is qualitative, and this is important because it will allow the respondents to share their personal knowledge about the issue being addressed. With quantitative studies with a predefined set of answers, a significant number of respondents could be compelled to select an answer that does not really explain their sentiments (Raharjo, 2019). A qualitative research approach is a content generator, and it means that the researcher can always find ways of presenting the content of the questions in a manner that is best understood by their respondents (Miroshnychenko et al., 2017). In essence, therefore, creativity is, in this case, the driving force, and it helps in accommodating each member of the sample.
Participants and Sources of Information
For each objective, there will be a sample of 30 respondents. Fifteen of them will be having the experience of working in an organization that utilizes green approaches, and the other 15 from an organization that does not use GHRM. Such a comparison is important as it helps determine the influence that context has on the success of the intervention in question (Järlström et al., 2018). In essence, it prevents the risk of concluding that an intervention was impactful, while in real sense it had no effect.
The interview questions will be a blend of structured and open-ended formats. In this case, there will be room to modify them, but only within a predefined scope. That way, the researcher will incorporate the benefits of the two approaches and hence increase the reliability of the findings (Davis et al., 2020). For instance, the structured aspect of the questions will help mitigate the challenges of completing this process, and it is also a robust line of questioning (Dumont et al., 2017). The open-ended element will aid in gathering rich data and get real insights into what the respondents actually think about GHRM.
Because the proposed study is qualitative in nature, there are no hypotheses. Nevertheless, the suppositions are that if the green philosophy is applied during recruitment and selection, used as the basis for determining the working conditions, and taught during training and development, eco-efficiency is realized. This in-effect results in improved organizational performance in terms of finances, market share, and the economic value (that is, shareholders’ return). The presumed null hypotheses are that none of the factors listed has any effects on eco-efficiency, and hence they do not influence organizational performance.
Stratified sampling will be used, and this is where the populations are subdivided into groups which are referred to as strata. The subdivisions are based on unique characteristics and not necessarily geography (Suharti & Sugiarto, 2020). The main divisions will be employees who have worked in an environment where green approaches were used, and another group of those who have never experienced these strategies at their places of work. Each group will consist of 15 respondents, and this will be repeated for each comparison. Sampling will be without replacement to avoid any bias from employees who have already respondent to some of the interview questions.
The analysis will commence with data preparation, and this is where the raw data will be converted into readable and meaningful information. This is a three-step process, and it includes data validation, editing, and coding. Validation helps determine if the collection was done in accordance with the predefined standards (Sardana, 2018). Data editing will be done in order to check for and correct any errors. Any data points which are deemed to prevent the accuracy of the results will be cleared. Data coding is where the information is grouped, and values are assigned to the responses (Saeed et al., 2019). In this case, the responses will be categorised in order to start working with simplified summaries rather than diversified ranges.
A grounded theory approach will be used, and this is where the researcher will be using descriptive statistics. These include means, percentages, frequency, and the range to elaborate the presumed causal relationships (Aguinis & Solarino, 2019). This will have been facilitated by the approach of studying similar cases within different settings (Suharti & Sugiarto, 2020). There is the freedom to alter or even create new explanations based on the findings, and hence objectivity is assured.
The incorporation of the green approaches into the traditional HR management is predicted to have a positive influence on the sustainability of a firm. Researchers have found a strong correlation between instituting these measures in the business strategy and realizing the aim of reducing a firm’s carbon footprint (Shah, 2019). It has also been determined that clients respond positively when a brand become socially responsible (Davis et al., 2020). It is based on these views that eco-efficiency is seen as making economic sense. Besides, an organization saves a noteworthy portion of the cost of operations by ensuring that resources are utilized optimally.
Because human resources are paramount in regards to ensuring eco-efficiency, the primary study will seek to determine the influence that recruitment and selection has on realizing this goal. The effect of training and development will also be estimated, as well as the contribution of the working conditions in the efforts to help the business reduce its carbon footprint. A qualitative approach and case studies have been selected since they facilitate an in-depth understanding of the issue under investigation.
In order to achieve eco-efficiency, the views of the ordinary employees must be sought and incorporated in the business strategy. It is also imperative to institute an effective feedback mechanism so that anyone with an idea of how the systems can be improved may have it channeled to the management and other legitimate parties. While there are hints in literature on how approaches of this nature can be implemented, it is still helpful to undertake a primary study. This aids in learning about the contextual issues which may not have been addressed by other researchers.
The proposed research will be completed through a case study. It is qualitative in nature, and will hence help in exploring behaviors and attitudes in an in-depth manner. It is a method that facilitates significant flexibility which will enable the researcher to address any issue that may come-up in the middle of the exercise. It will be possible to broaden the context as the method is not limited by the confines associated with the quantitative methods. In essence, therefore, the effectiveness of the methods which the stakeholders are using to achieve eco-efficiency will be addressed exhaustively.
Organizations should include green approaches in their business as well as HR strategies. This is particularly because being eco-efficient facilitates the optimization of profits. It does also help in reducing the cost of operations, especially in scenarios lean and the just-in-time approaches are utilized in processing endeavors. The fact that the workers are expected to support the firm in achieving the stated goals means that they must be supplied with the relevant pieces of information during recruitment and selection. Moreover, it is important for the management to avail working conditions which are conducive for the desired level of success. Additionally, training and development should be offered as this aids in achieving continued improvement.
Aguinis, H., & Solarino, A. (2019). Transparency and replicability in qualitative research: The case of interviews with elite informants. Strategic Management Journal, 40(8), 1291–1315. Web.
Davis, M. C., Unsworth, K. L., Russell, S. V., & Galvan, J. J. (2020). Can green behaviors really be increased for all employees? Trade‐offs for “deep greens” in a goal‐oriented green human resource management intervention. Business Strategy & The Environment (John Wiley & Sons, Inc), 29(2), 335–346. Web.
Dumont, J., Shen, J., & Deng, X. (2017). Effects of green HRM practices on employee workplace green behavior: The role of psychological green climate and employee green values. Human Resource Management, 56(4), 613–627. Web.
Järlström, M., Saru, E., & Vanhala, S. (2018). Sustainable human resource management with salience of stakeholders: A top management perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 152(3), 703–724. Web.
Miroshnychenko, I., Barontini, R., & Testa, F. (2017). Green practices and financial performance: A global outlook. Journal of Cleaner Production, 147, 340–351. Web.
Raharjo, K. (2019). The role of green management in creating sustainability performance on the small and medium enterprises. Management of Environmental Quality, 30(3), 557–577. Web.
Saeed, B. B., Afsar, B., Hafeez, S., Khan, I., Tahir, M., & Afridi, M. A. (2019). Promoting employee’s pro-environmental behavior through green human resource management practices. Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental Management, 26(2), 424–438. Web.
Sardana, A. (2018). Turning green into gold through practices of green HRM. Pranjana: The Journal of Management Awareness, 21(2), 63–73. Web.
Shah, M. (2019). Green human resource management: Development of a valid measurement scale. Business Strategy & the Environment (John Wiley & Sons, Inc), 28(5), 771–785. Web.
Suharti, L., & Sugiarto, A. (2020). A qualitative study of green HRM practices and their benefits in the organization: An Indonesian company experience. Business: Theory & Practice, 21(1), 200–211. Web.
Teti, M., Schatz, E., & Liebenberg, L. (2020). Methods in the time of COVID-19: The vital role of qualitative inquiries. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. Web.
Zoogah, D. B. (2018). High‐performance organizing, environmental management, and organizational performance: An evolutionary economics perspective. Human Resource Management, 57(1), 159–175. Web.