Essay on Green Human Resource Management and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Conservation of the Environment

Published: 2021/11/12
Number of words: 3340


The growing concerns over the environment and the depletion of the earth’s natural resources have led to the creation of green initiatives in many countries and have also been the major contributor to the changes in practices of major companies around the world. Literature has already affirmed the benefits and competitiveness that companies have placed on their human resources. However, not much has been researched about the environmental friendliness created through green resource management practices. China is a major country with some of the largest carbon emissions in the world that has inspired actions that would lead towards preserving the environment. The study looks through the works of Shen, Dumont, and Deng (2019), who wrote a journal on “Green human resource management in Chinese enterprise that Routledge first published in 2020.

Through reviewing the journal, we hope to develop a deeper understanding of the concept of green human resource management (GHRM). We also hope to create an understanding of how this might help increase the company’s overall competitive advanced in the current changing business environment. The study hopes to sensitize stakeholders on the importance of the concepts of HR towards the protection of the environment alongside the devotement in the growth of the company. The relevant conceptual model was tested using cross-sectional data collected from businesses in China. The results indicated that employee life cycle, education and training, employee empowerment, and manager involvement all positively impact learners’ in- and extra-role green behavior. In contrast, reward systems only have a positive effect on extra-role green behavior and attitude.

Keywords: Green HRM, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Environmental Management, employee recruitment, organizations behavior.

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Green Human Resources Management (GHRM) is defined as a collection of policies and procedures that encourage companies to embrace environmentally conscious, energy, and socially beneficial behaviors to build an environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and socially responsible establishment. Many companies have also started employing green CSR policies, which may be defined as the environmental component of CSR – the need to consider the ecological benefits of the company’s activities and thus minimize behaviors that could jeopardize future generations from enjoying the enjoyment of the natural resources the country. This is not only towards benefiting the environment but also works towards building the organization’s corporate image (Alam & Islam, 2021).

Most global governments’ growing concern for the environment was one of the motivating factors for most scholarly work (Ahmad, 2015). There has been increasing waste emission from companies around the world, and China is one of the major emitters for chemical emissions from factories and industries. The depletion of natural resources degradation of the environment has become a growing global issue among most governments worldwide, which has caused the establishment and enforcement of countermeasure policies to companies to reduce the diverse effect they have on the environment (Zhu et al., 2021). This has resulted in organizations scrambling to find cost-effective environmental strategies that can be implemented with the minimal financial outlay and organizational disruption.

Although going green is a cost-prohibiting endeavor for most companies, some have started seeing the competitive advantage obtained from this approach. Businesses with a strategic mindset have recognized that they cannot continue to prioritize profits above the environment. This is because research has uncovered that 55% of people worldwide have become passionate about conserving the environment that they have begun paying more for products and services that would work towards this objective (Marylhurst University, 2017). While many companies have established some form of a sustainability program in their activities, many still don’t put a much deeper consideration into the company’s sustainability action can act towards promoting the model of the business, in turn raising the company’s competitive advantage (Escaler, 2020).

Background Information.

Although green human resource management provides companies a new and unorthodox way to attaining these green objectives, the specifics of how, why, and if this is likely to occur were unknown. China’s contribution to the global corporatization and consumerism explosion over the last two decades has been astounding. Unfortunately, extraordinary corporate and personal income development has resulted in greater consumerism, a rise in waste and pollution, increased energy and water use, and additional environmental deterioration. To address deteriorating air quality, contaminated land and water systems, and Chinese people’s dissatisfaction with high pollution levels, the Chinese government has implemented a series of significant changes.

These changes have moved the emphasis away from simply reacting to pollution levels and toward preventing pollution. At the Communist Party of China’s 19th National Congress, the Chinese government formally endorsed the idea of a ‘green economy’ (China’s 19th Party Congress, 2017). While the Chinese government’s efforts are laudable, they fall short of adequately addressing the increasing amounts of hazardous air, water, and ground pollution affecting the Chinese people’s everyday life. Corporations operating in China should be proactive and socially responsible by assuming responsibility for and mitigating the negative impacts of their operations on the local environment.

One method to do this is by using new and modern human resource management techniques to enhance CSR results and by expanding and developing their employees’ environmental attitudes, motivations, and behaviors (Malik et al., 2021). Such ideas can usher in revolutionary changes to the human resource management sector, not only in China but worldwide. This book brings together the following topics of interest: green human resource management in China — via an examination of the green human resource management policies, procedures, and practices of Chinese indigenous companies and foreign-owned firms operating in China.

Literature Review

Various underlying features to green human resource management (GHRM) have been featured in Shen, Dumont, and Deng’s (2019) journal on “Green human resource management in Chinese enterprise that Routledge first published in 2020. According to the authors, The term ‘green human resource management has developed and is defined as human resource management techniques that companies use to execute corporate green strategy by offering opportunities for workers to participate in environmental programs and encouraging them to do so. For the study, both interview and survey methods were used while examinations were made on the types and extent to which 16 businesses in China have adopted green human resource management strategies. Although most companies acknowledge the necessity and importance of green human resource management, most companies have only implemented the concept in its infancy and have not yet made advances in the concept.

Human resource management has been established in the literature as a critical facilitator inside companies, capable of favorably affecting organizational performance and employee behavior via focused, effective, and transparent human resource management policies. Furthermore, it has been established as a factor for competition across various industries and companies, which has garnered attention in the recent developments in the business world. Never the less Shen et al. (2019) introduce the HR concept to environmental conservation and in that there can be huge benefits to the environment if companies adopt the idea of Green HRM. Green HR management is a modern variant of human resource management that was developed from similar green management ideas in order to promote employee green habits basically.

Although only a few empirical investigations have been conducted, current literature’s results have been especially constrictive in terms of practical applicability, such as insufficient sample sizes. The degree to which an employee’s views of an organization’s green human resource management policies affect workplace behaviors and social and psychological processes has not been investigated experimentally properly or extensively. However, the journal by Shen et al. (2019) does not confine itself to identifying green employee workplace behaviors. Rather, it created an integrated model that took into account the impacts green HRM had on in- and extra-role, green and employee workplace behaviors that are considered non-green, and desire to leave by employees.

In their findings, Shen et al. (2019) indicated that green human resource management had had an effect on both direct and indirect green workplace behavior among in-role employees. On the other hand, however, Green human resource management has had little impact on extra-role employees in promoting green behavior in the workplace via an indirect influence through psychological green climate mediation. Furthermore, Shen et al. (2019) aimed to investigate if green human resource management might have an effect on employees’ non-green or fortuitous workplace habits. Green human resource management had an unexpected and substantial impact on employee workplace outcomes, according to their findings.

Shen et al. (2019) made significant contributions to the body of knowledge on green HRM. Furthermore, their study created and then evaluated metrics for human resource management practice that was environmentally friendly. The measures were created in response to the scarcity of recognizable standards designed to ensure eco-friendly human resource management policies available in green management or green human resource management literature. Companies vary in their degree of commitment to green human resource management practices, as does the quantity and kind of green human resource management activities adopted. Therefore, to develop accurate green human resource management measures, Shen et al. (2019) conducted a series of activities, including an extensive literature review; consultation with experts in the field; interviews with senior representatives and shop-floor employees of the case study companies; a review of company documentation; and focus groups were conducted to ensure the measures’ applicability and intelligibility to the survey portion.

From their investigation, they determined several things as a consequence. The first thing that they determined was that Green HRM encompasses practices and processes considering the green awareness and values of candidates during the selection and recruitment process, which would help cultivate eco-friendly practices in the organization while helping to develop and train environmental skills and capabilities. It would also help in assessing an employee’s eco-friend habit when appraising promotions and performance when evaluating employees for compensations for meeting the organizations’ green objectives (Shen et al., 2019). According to the research on human resource management behaviors, green human resource management may not directly affect employee workplace behaviors but rather via the effect of individual social and psychological processes.

As such, the study conducted by Shen et al. (2019) sought to ascertain the validity of current HRM, green HRM, and green management literature, with the main objective of examining extant literature relating to the fundamental ideas upon which green HRM developed. The topics that Shen et al. (2019) suggested to understanding the subject better were HRM, environmental management and corporate social responsibility. Furthermore, the journal aimed to identify and discuss green HRM practices in detail to ascertain their appropriateness and effectiveness when applied to contemporary workplaces and deepen our understanding of the what, how, why, and when green human resource management influences individual employee outcomes.

This is accomplished by examining the underlying mechanisms that are expected to link employee participation in organizational environmental initiatives to employee-level outcomes, as well as the extent to which these social and psychological processes influence employee in- and extra-role green and non-green workplace behaviors, as well as an employee’s intention to quit. The need for businesses to adopt environmental sustainability plans is driven by three major pressures: diminishing global resources, growing demands and expectations from various stakeholders, and unprecedented transparency from the media, activists, and non-governmental organizations. Additionally, when environmental sustainability policies, processes, and practices are fully integrated into an organization, they pervade the thinking and behavior of employees, who then choose to innovate job-related changes in work processes, setup, and product and service design, rather than simply complying with new rules and norms.

According to Shen et al. (2019), research done on existing green management, CSR, and green HRM has shown some limited empirical evidence for a connection between green HRM and employee activities and behavior in the workplace that has worked to promote the green practice. Shen et al. (2019) suggest that equipping workers with the necessary skills (abilities), motivation, and opportunities to contribute to corporate objectives that are started and nurtured via human resource practices increases the probability of employees doing the required duties. Through a variety of motivational, social, and psychological processes, green HRM will favorably impact employee workplace behaviors both inside and beyond the boundaries of the green domain.

Owing to the fact that various possible mediating routes were examined throughout the study, Shen et al. (2019) used a variety of relevant theories to explain the anticipated results. The following theories were mentioned in the study:

Institutional theory – the theory assumes that organizations make decisions following societal norms, decrees, and internal motives that are mainly influenced by external forces.

Attribution theory argued that workers assess an organization’s motives and intents based on their views of its policies and procedures, such as human resource management practices.

Stakeholder theory – asserted that the more effectively a business manages the expectations, demands, and concerns of a diverse set of stakeholders, the more likely the business will accomplish its objectives. The value-belief-norm (VBN) hypothesis postulates that individual values and beliefs are likely to significantly impact the probability of workers engaging in good (green) workplace activities.

Fit’ theories – imply that there must be some degree of alignment between an employee’s values and those of the organization and that high levels of value alignment between individual workers and the business are likely to transfer into higher levels of trust and work effort.

Social identity theory (SIT) argued that those workers identify with companies that treat them well and are drawn to enterprises with a favorable external reputation. According to SIT, workers who have a strong sense of belonging to their company are more inclined to engage in and participate in organizational activities.

Social exchange theory (SET) – According to the theory, people often personalize organizations, and when they get economic and socioemotional resources from their organization, they feel obligated to reciprocate. Human resource practices are basically a joint investment, including contacts between employees and employers. The perceived quality of these reciprocal exchanges is likely to influence employee workplace outcomes such as motivation, attitudes, and behaviors.

According to the logic of these organizational behavioral (OB) theories, employees who: strongly identify with the organization; engage in meaningful social and reciprocal exchanges that benefit both the employee and the firm; share similar values and beliefs with the organization, implying a high degree of congruence; and believe their organization is reputable and ethical due to its transparent motivations and policies. The research was motivated in part by growing concern among governments and corporations about environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources, which has resulted in organizations scrambling to find cost-effective environmental strategies that can be implemented with the minimal financial outlay and organizational disruption.

Given the potential for general and green management research and their practical applications and implications for green human resource management, Shen et al. (2019) found it surprising that more researchers have not sought to investigate the organizational or employee consequences of green human resource management. To accomplish green objectives and environmental efforts, Shen et al. (2019) advised that businesses should, in particular,

  • Create a green image and build recruiting procedures that attract competent and motivated workers who share the organization’s values and beliefs.
  • Establish procedures and activities that inspire, engage, and encourage workers to participate in green projects and to develop their green abilities.
  • Ensure that company values relating to the attainment of green objectives are communicated to workers in a clear and consistent manner.
  • Ensure that employee green performance is appropriately monitored, evaluated, and documented
  • Associate employee green efforts with internal promotions and publicize both cash and non-monetary incentives.

Companies were shown to prioritize assessing a candidate’s environmentally relevant skills (mostly previous work experience) and understanding of green management during face-to-face recruiting and selection procedures, particularly when the position required environmental capabilities or knowledge. Although green human resource management provides companies a new and unorthodox way to attaining these green objectives, the specifics of how, why, and if this is likely to occur were unknown. China’s contribution to the global corporatization and consumerism explosion over the last two decades has been astounding. Rather than conducting face-to-face interviews for new job positions, Chinese companies were shown to be increasingly using formats such as Skype interviews to save resources and minimize recruiting expenses.

This is an intriguing human resource management approach being used by domestic Chinese companies, particularly given that job applicant, particularly younger and university-educated job seekers, are known to gravitate toward socially and ecologically responsible businesses. Furthermore, the study revealed that green human resource planning had a noticeable impact on unanticipated worker work performance, such as non-green worker performance. This was not an unexpected conclusion from a logical standpoint. The current body of knowledge believes that green human resource management will be confined to favorably influencing green employee habits. Nevertheless, through the mediation of employee engagement, this research discovered that green administration was associated with increased in-role and extra-role employee non-green workplace behaviors and adversely associated with an individual employee’s desire to leave.


The rise in carbon emission and depletion of natural resources worldwide has motivated governments and companies to initiate measures that would help preserve the environment. China also jumped to the bandwagon of a green environment when they decided to formally acknowledge the idea in the Communist Party of China’s 19th National Congress. The company’s embracing the concept of environmentally having not only benefitted the environment but has also gone a long way in developing the company’s brand image, which has led to the overall development of the company in the current business world. Green human resource management (GHRM) has increasingly gained prominence in scholarly communities, affecting workers’ green behavior.

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The market has also well received the current trend of developing corporate social responsibility policies that work towards energy efficiency and environmental preservation as some consumers have been witnessed paying more for initiatives that conserve the earth. Companies have been advised to put more consideration into their recruitment processes for employees who are environmentally skilled and aware of the environment. This is to enable the company with an employee workforce that shares the same ideology and goals with the company regarding environment conservation.

Furthermore, they have been advised to put procedures and activities that inspire, engage, and encourage workers to participate in green projects and to develop their green abilities. They should also properly document and monitor employees’ activities in order to ensure their performance in the organization. They have been further encouraged to ascertain that employee green performance is monitored, assessed, and recorded properly. Finally, they have been advised that associating green employee initiatives with internal promotions and publicizing both monetary and non-monetary incentives can help increase employee engagement.


Ahmad, S. (2015). Green Human Resource Management: Policies and practices. Cogent Business & Management, 2(1), 1030817.

Alam, S. M. S., & Islam, K. M. Z. (2021). Examining the role of environmental corporate social responsibility in building green corporate image and green competitive advantage. International Journal of Corporate Social Responsibility, 6(1), 1–16.

China’s 19th Party Congress. (2017, September 29). Brookings.

Content provided by Marylhurst University. (2017, August 23). Why going green gives your business a competitive advantage. Portland Business Journal.

Escaler, G. (2020, September 9). Transforming Sustainability Into A Competitive Advantage. Forbes Magazine.

Malik, S. Y., Mughal, Y. H., Azam, T., Cao, Y., Zhifang, W. A. N., Hongge, Z. H. U., & Thurasamy, R. (2021). Corporate Social Responsibility, Green Human Resources Management, and Sustainable Performance: Is Organizational Citizenship Behavior towards Environment the Missing Link? In Sustainability (Vol. 13, Issue 3, p. 1044).

Shen, J., Dumont, J., & Deng, X. (2019). Green human resource management in Chinese enterprises. Routledge.

Zhu, J., Tang, W., Wang, H., & Chen, Y. (2021). The Influence of Green Human Resource Management on Employee Green Behavior—A Study on the Mediating Effect of Environmental Belief and Green Organizational Identity. In Sustainability (Vol. 13, Issue 8, p. 4544).

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