Perceived Importance and Readiness of Green HRM in Malaysian Financial Services Industry

By Ooi, Say Keat; Amran, Azlan et al. | Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal, October 15, 2017 | Go to article overview

Perceived Importance and Readiness of Green HRM in Malaysian Financial Services Industry


Ooi, Say Keat, Amran, Azlan, Goh, Simin, Nejati, Mehran, Global Business and Management Research: An International Journal


Introduction

With the recent historical Paris Agreement (UNFCCC, 2015) to combat climate change, it heightened the global interest in climate change and environmental degradation concerns. Due to the devastating impact of industry pollution and greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, several governmental schemes, policies, and initiatives, together with non-governmental pressures have emerged to focus on the environmental concerns and sustainable development (Kauffmann et al., 2012; Ooi & Amran, in press). Besides the governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), business corporations also seem to show an increasing awareness and commitment to a more sustainable practice and behaviour (Amran et al., 2015; 2016).

A general worldwide agreement has emerged regarding the need for proactive environmental management (Gonzalez-Benito & Gonzalez-Benito, 2006). This trend has speed up. As a matter of fact, no matter how large or small a company, businesses are implementing environmentally friendly practices daily (Jackson et al., 2016). Business organisations are now factoring "green" and sustainability concerns into their business operation and strategies. Besides the economic consideration, businesses are finding ways to reduce their carbon footprints and enhance their social well-being. To be a successful and reputable organisation, businesses should focus on addressing the social and environmental issues alongside economic and financial attainment for their stakeholders (Amran et al., 2013; Amran & Ooi, 2014).

Although incorporating "green" into business strategy and sustainable developments are gaining increasing prominence among businesses, research that addresses the integration of human resource and sustainability initiatives is scarce as there is still a gap that exist in the Human Resource Management (HRM) literature, especially on the HR aspects of environmental management, which is green human resource management (GHRM) (Renwick et al., 2008; 2013). Despite the fact that sustainable development is gaining increasing attention, HRM practitioners and scholars have been relatively passive to engage into this timely GHRM topic (Jackson et al., 2011).

To have an effective environmental management, the support of HR is very important as the role of HR is crucial in generating sustainable competitive advantage, especially with the rapidly changing economic environment (Becker & Gerhart, 1996). It is suggested that GHRM is the key factor of sustainability (Ahmad, 2015). Moreover, majority of the workforce nowadays strongly feels about environmental sustainability and they are more committed and satisfied with organisations that involve proactively in environmental management (Kim & Choi, 2013). Hence, the field of GHRM would be the future direction of business organisations in the pursuit of environmentally sustainable businesses (Jackson et al., 2011).

Of late, sustainability related topics have been extensively researched in the Western and developed countries (Bebbington et al., 2008; Hahn & Kuhnen, 2013). Very few are focusing in developing countries like Malaysia. Specifically, financial institutions have been largely ignored in the sustainability related research (Sobhani et al., 2012), most likely due to specific characteristics of their accounting system (Reverte, 2009). Nevertheless, these financial institutions are expected to incorporate sustainable behaviour or practices in their business operations as the financial services industry (FSI) plays a crucial role in propagating sustainability practices. These financial institutions used to have a catalytic role in shaping the environmental or sustainable behaviour of other industries (Douglas et al., 2004).

FSI is critical to the functioning of the nation's economy (BNM, 2013). The Malaysian FSI is the backbone of its economy. It is the primary source of financing for the private sector to undertake business activity, which is an important driver of economic growth. …

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