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About this book

This book provides a multi-stakeholder perspective on sustainable HRM for the policymakers, managers and academics, addressing issues, approaches, research studies/frameworks and emerging patterns relating to the subject. It discusses various aspects of sustainability, such as making HR more responsible for ensuring sustainability focusing on the triple bottom line, characteristics of sustainable HRM, psychological contracts, emotional intelligence, and psychological capital. The book also explores organizational citizenship behavior, employment relations, employee engagement, sustainable leadership, disruptive HR practices, sustaining employee motivation, educational sustainability, sustainable career management, sustainable environment, employer and employee branding, sustainable organizations, organization culture, training for sustainability, sustainable employee performance, business sustainability and sustainable employability. It provides an update on the concept, processes, issues and emerging paradigms from multidimensional and cross-country perspectives to showcase sustainable HR practices, and appeals to the academics, practitioners and policymakers in the area of HRM.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. From Sustainability to Sustainable HRM—An Evolutionary Perspective

Profound changes in climate on account of the destruction of nature along with its consequences on the health/well-being/unemployment leading to social and economic problems across the globe posed a serious challenge to both the organizations at the microlevel and the nations at the macrolevel. Effective management of people by motivating them inculcates the performance culture which brought in a renewed role for HRM for business sustainability and success. One of the responses was seen in sustainable HRM making the human element at the centre stage of HRM activity. Linking sustainability to HRM also provided information on the related issues of the Green HRM, socially responsible HRM, ethical HRM, etc., thus categorizing the different strands of research into the first wave, second wave and third wave. This paper attempts to trace sustainable HRM from an evolutionary perspective, by analysing the literature and presenting it in a descriptive format.
Sita Vanka, Swati Singh, Madasu Bhaskara Rao

Chapter 2. Characteristics of Sustainable HRM System and Practices for Implementing Corporate Sustainability

The current mutual benefit-focused HRM practices have a limited role in enhancing organization–stakeholder relationships to achieve organizational financial performance and human/social and environmental outcomes of corporate sustainability business strategy. Hence, sustainable HRM evolved as a discipline to facilitate a new understanding of organization–stakeholder relationships. Although there are many definitions available in the sustainable HRM literature, currently there is no established set of characteristics for sustainable HRM practices. The characteristics of sustainable HRM practices are important to operationalize an organization’s corporate sustainability business strategy using HR as a core business competency. In this article, distinct pro-financial, social/human and ecocentric characteristics are proposed for each of the identified HRM practices for sustainable HRM system to facilitate employee behaviours to achieve corporate sustainability outcomes. Furthermore, the synthesis effects of bundles of HRM practices in the sustainable HRM system to enhance integrated outcomes of corporate sustainability are explored. An attempt was also made to theoretically explain the difference in characteristics of HRM practices between the control, commitment (strategic) and sustainable HRM systems to feature the distinct characteristics of sustainable HRM practices. Finally, practical and empirical implications are provided.
Sugumar Mariappanadar

Chapter 3. Sustainable Human Resource Management: Making Human Resources More Responsible

The extant literature focuses on business or corporate level strategy of the organization and its architecture to match HRM with organizational strategies, creating HR strategy and HR systems. But the need to respond to the sustainability of organizations needs a paradigm shift in all aspects of HRM at all levels, both inside and outside. Thus, the debate is on human resources playing a critical role in addressing the sustainability concerns. This paper is a response to the demands of sustainability of organizations, society and environment, of which the role of human resources is of paramount importance.
Ekta Sarma, Madasu Bhaskara Rao

Chapter 4. Incorporating Psychological Contract into the Sustainable HRM Model

Sustainable human resource management (HRM) is heralded as the successor to strategic HRM by providing a more holistic view of people management that balances the goals of the present without jeopardising the needs of the future. Shifting focus from immediate, short-term gains to future, long-term gains benefits employees, the organisation and society resulting in a state that is sustainable. To achieve this state, it has never been more critical that the employee–employer relationship is established and nurtured. An important aspect of this relationship is the concept of the psychological contract. HRM policies and practices developed for sustainability must also consider their impact on psychological contracts within their HR capital. To conceptualise the interaction between sustainable HRM and psychological contract, a theoretical framework is proposed, based on the Ehnert (2009) model and expanded to include the concept of psychological contract which may be used to guide future research in this field.
Pattanee Susomrith

Chapter 5. A Grounded Research Approach to Sustainable Leadership Practices and Competencies

Sustainable leadership is an enduring model of leadership in the current context of scarce and depleting resources. However, there does not seem to be a consensus as far as the interpretation and definition of the concept in light of competencies are concerned. A new paradigm for the development of leadership has necessitated a relook at this concept. There are limited empirical studies dealing with sustainable leadership (Crews 2010). The primary objective of the paper was to provide a contemporary, conceptual clarity of sustainable leadership competencies and practices, through an understanding of it from global HR leaders across different sectors in the industry. The review of literature indicated a gap of knowledge in a suitable framework of competencies for a sustainable leader. The study applied the qualitative research approach, using the grounded-theory methodology originally developed by Glaser and Strauss (Jones and Noble 2007). This method was chosen as it offered an eye view reality, insights and enhanced understanding of the same contextually. The qualitative research design included a sample of country and South Asian Heads of HR from India who were selected from different industries to represent diverse perspectives. Eighteen Global and Country Heads of HR of India and South Asia participated in this study. The competencies that emerged from the interviews were strategic thinking, cognitive diversity, learning agility, systems approach, intuitive decision making and societal values.
Agna Fernandez, Francis David Kullu, Ramesh Shankar

Chapter 6. Sustainable HRM for Sustainable Careers of Women Professionals

Evidence about the barriers and challenges to the sustainable career advancement of women professionals is present in the literature. Past studies report the inadequacy of strategic HRM, the dominant HRM approach, in developing sustainable careers for women professionals. This paper introduces the need for sustainable HRM practices for sustainable careers of women professionals. A comprehensive view of career issues of women professionals across their lifespan, a critical analysis of the role of strategic HRM and proposing the conceptual framework based on sustainable HRM for sustainable careers of women forms the crux of this paper. The paper builds on the theoretical grounding of kaleidoscope career model, evidence-based management and work–family enrichment to suggest theoretically informed sustainable HRM practices for sustainable careers of women. The specific strategies are discussed, and future research agenda was presented at the end.
Swati Singh, Sita Vanka

Chapter 7. Organizational Culture Dimensions as Drivers of Employee Engagement for Business Sustainability: Towards a Conceptual Framework

The concept of organizational sustainability is gaining currency over time, as companies across industries strive to survive and counter stiff competition. Organizations today use employee engagement as a tool to gain competitive advantage. There are many determinants of employee engagement, of which organizational culture is considered to be one of the key drivers. The study focuses on those key dimensions of organizational culture that not only act as drivers of employee engagement but also directly or indirectly affects organizational sustainability. The objective is to explore the literature to identify the linkages between the three concepts. A multidisciplinary approach was adopted for identifying relevant literature and multiple databases were used to extract studies. Integrative literature review on employee engagement, organizational culture, and business sustainability dimensions was conducted. Business sustainability has three key dimensions—social, environmental, and economic. Organizational culture dimensions that affect employee engagement are teamwork, leadership behaviour, rewards, support towards employees, and internal communication. These also impact the three dimensions of business sustainability. Employee engagement was also found to impact business sustainability. The available literature indicates that there is a paucity of studies that interlink organizational sustainability, employee engagement, and organizational culture. The study shows linkages between the dimensions of organizational culture, employee engagement, and the three dimensions of organizational sustainability by developing a conceptual model. Researchers, practitioners, and policy makers can take cues from the proposed model for their future action plans.
Shefali Nandan, Jyoti

Chapter 8. Employer Branding and Employee-Emotional Bonding—The CSR Way to Sustainable HRM

The idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has come of age as it has evolved itself into a state and practice of permanency in every organization with its potential to affect both internal and external business environment. By its inevitable nature in today’s corporate scenario, CSR acquired such strategic importance for business that no company worth its name can afford to ignore it, and thus, should sincerely integrate their CSR, aimed at both internal and external stakeholders, into its business strategy. For this fact and analogy, the employee, being the most important internal stakeholder for every business enterprise, needs to be paid extraordinary attention by the employer to strengthen the emotional bond between the two as the success of an organization largely depends on conducive work environment resulting from favorable employer–employee relations. The practice of CSR has the potential to affirmatively affect the employer branding (EB)—the power to pull the desired talent and employee-emotional bonding (EeB)—the strength of employer–employee relationship, through various internal and external initiatives, and in turn, helps to achieve sustainable human resource management (S-HRM). Though there is an abundance of research available on the role and importance of HR in CSR or impact of CSR on HR through employee engagement, etc., yet, there is marked dearth of literature on the interconnect between CSR and EB to understand EeB with the organization through the perspective of S-HRM. Thus, this paper comprehends the synthesis between CSR oriented EB, EeB, and S-HRM. The study shall help the researchers in conceptualizing various approaches and viewpoints of S-HRM into a model which is integrated internally and externally.
Sunil Budhiraja, Satbir Yadav

Chapter 9. Impact of Sustainable Leadership on Organizational Transformation

Leadership since the ancient times is considered to be an inherently moral endeavour. The conventional leadership theories considered leadership to be an innate talent, and the later theories suggested leadership can be adapted or learnt. A vital strand of leadership research deals with leadership in the organizational context. Ever since the advent of the global financial crisis, stalwarts in the field of leadership research are calling for a new kind of leadership which will ensure organizations become sufficiently resilient and be well prepared to deal with any sort of unforeseen adversities. Sustainable leadership assumes significance in this context. Sustainable leadership is based on the humanistic approach towards management, which takes into account the human factor in the organizational settings as the facilitator establish the overall well-being of the business firm. Such leadership practices create a self-reinforcing leadership system that enhances the organizational performance and longevity. Visser and Courtice (2011) developed a model on sustainable leadership precisely known as the Cambridge Sustainability Leadership (CSL) Model. The model was developed on the basis of the diverse tenants of sustainable leadership. The study attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of the CSL leadership model based on the qualitative data. It is a single-subject study based on qualitative research and case study research methodology. The study is based on an intensive interview of a senior male executive working in a department under the central government of India to understand the significance of the ‘individual leader’ factor as illustrated in the CSL model. An effort has also been made to understand the perception of the subordinates towards the male executive. It appears to emerge from the interview data of the male executive that he embodies a blend of the diverse components of the ‘individual leader’ factor as described in the Visser and Courtice’s (2011) CSL model. The interview data of the subordinates seems to suggest the male executive is perceived to exhibit the various characteristics of the ‘individual leader’ dimension. More specifically, the interview data of the subordinates appears to suggest that the male executive demonstrates sustainable leadership behaviour. Therefore,  proactive measures by global business firms embracing sustainable leadership at the workplace will ensure overall organizational growth.
Madhurima Basu, Kumkum Mukherjee

Chapter 10. Culture, Climate and Sustainability in Organizations

This study provides a close examination of the link between the cultural and climate orientations of an organization and the role of HR in inculcating a culture of sustainability in organizations, to promote more ‘responsible organizations’. Many scholars suggest that the pathway for the adoption of sustainability principles is because of the adoption of a sustainability-oriented organizational culture. Previous research also highlights the critical role of the HR function but has not elaborated on the dimensions of this role. Additionally, very few studies, especially in the Indian scenario, seem to have brought together sustainability, role of HR and organizational culture, linking the three and examining them from an organizational context. Climate, as a construct is studied with culture, as research supports their simultaneous study. A constructivist grounded theory approach has been used. Primary research findings based on interviews conducted reveal that key stakeholders are yet to grasp the benefits of sustainability. Human Resources could play a key role here in educating the stakeholders on the benefits of sustainability and inculcating a ‘sense of ownership’ towards the concept. This study helps us to realise that the traditional business organizations need to focus more on sustainability awareness. Focus on the ‘local context’ has been identified as a crucial factor for maintaining sustainability in organizations, especially in emerging economies. This study helps to understand the dimensions of the HR function to build a culture of sustainability and also identifies focus areas to build a sustainable culture within organizations.
Vinitha Nair, Veena Vohra

Chapter 11. Sustainable HRM Practices - A Drive Towards Sustainability (The case of NLCIL)

Sustainable development provides a fresh, invigorating, perspective of the world, which can foster innovative approaches to a variety of business problems. An organisation’s overall strategy as well as its culture, systems and structure to enable sustainable development must encourage individuals to hone their unique skills in areas that essentially contribute to the social and environmental needs. Human resource is considered as the most valuable asset for all organisations. Human resource needs to be aligned to achieve the sustainability goals of the organisations. Sustainable HR activities create value for potential and excite investment for long-term availability and viability of employees ensuring a high-quality work force for the future. The paper attempts to look at the dimension of sustainability and pulls different strings of HRM enabling sustainability. The paper acts as a platform for an understanding of HR functions in establishing sustainability-focused culture. The paper follows a case study-based approach and discusses the best practices in sustainable HRM. The paper shares the sustainable HR approach of NLC India Ltd (NLCIL), a Navratna public sector enterprise, under the Ministry of Coal (MoC), Government of India (GoI). NLCIL has witnessed a sustained growth since its inception in 1956. NLCIL is one of the iconic public sector undertakings in mine-cum-energy sector. The company has diversified and reached greater heights by following unique HR practices. The paper also shares diverse perspectives in terms of the role of HRM for sustainability from culture building practices, employer branding to employee engagement.
R. K. Mishra, Shulagna Sarkar

Chapter 12. Effectiveness of an Emotional Intelligence Course in Enhancing and Sustaining the Emotional Competencies of MBA Students

Business graduates are expected to possess a multitude of skill sets to adapt to a challenging business environment in the contemporary context. Emotional intelligence (EI) is one of them which has a significant impact on one’s intrapersonal and interpersonal life. Researchers urge that business schools should incorporate EI training into their curriculum. This study discusses the effectiveness of an EI course offered at a Business School in India. The study was done on a sample of 115 Master of Business Administration (MBA) students. An experimental group and a control group were formed. Pre- and post-assessments and comparisons of EI scores between experimental and control groups showed that the course was effective. The experiences of the students during the course were qualitatively analyzed to substantiate the effectiveness of the course. Data collected after the students had graduated revealed that they were able to sustain and apply their EI competencies.
R. Deepa, K. Arulrajan

Chapter 13. Perceived Sustainability of Seasonal Employees on Destination and Work—A Study in the Tourism Industry

The uneven flow of tourists has emerged as a challenge to the tourism industry. Tourism industry experiences uneven inflow and outflow of tourists at different points of time, which poses a challenge of seasonal employment in the tourism industry. The risk of remaining unemployed during off-seasons discourages the participation of workers. Therefore, the inherent motivations of workers to work in this scenario become critical aspects given the context. This study attempts to examine seasonal employees’ perceived sustainability of the destination as a driving factor of motivation. With Herzberg’s motivation theory as the locus, the study uses the theory of planned behavior and expectancy theory to explain the assumptions. This study examines if employee’s perceived sustainability of destination and growth needs have an influence on employee’s motivation. The study is exploratory in nature and seeks to determine the perceived sustainability of destination (economic, cultural, and environmental Sustainability) and growth needs as the predictor of Motivation. A sample of 137 seasonal employees in Nagaland was collected. Using regression, the results showed that the perceived sustainability of destination and growth needs significantly predicted motivation with an adjusted R2 of 0.782. The study concludes that motivation to work is not only drawn by the relevant theories but also predicted by assessment and observation through the perceived sustainability of the place.
Rhulia Nukhu, Sapna Singh

Chapter 14. Sustainable Human Resource Management in the Hospitality Industry: Evidence from Rajasthan

The state of Rajasthan is a resource generator in the hospitality industry of India. Sustainable human resource practices form a core function in the development of this industry. Studies show a dearth of research in sustainable HR practices in the hospitality industry of Rajasthan. Sustainable human resource practices, in the Hospitality Industry in Rajasthan, India, are the focus of this study. The research examines variables taken from the SHRM report (2012) on the role of human in social, environmental and corporate sustainability. The paper provides empirical evidence for the influence of exogenous variables of sustainable HRM which includes: Values and ethics (VE), recruitment (REC), compensation (COMP), well-being (WB), development (DEV) and engagement (ENG) on sustainable growth of hospitality industry in Rajasthan. The study was conducted in hotels throughout Rajasthan. Data from 97 responses were analyzed after checking the normality and reliability. Six hypotheses were framed and tested using parametric tests. High positive correlation was observed among all variables except well-being to recruitment (0.129) and engagement to recruitment (0.195). The study shows that recruitment has a minimal impact on both well-being as well as engagement in organizations in Rajasthan.
Shaheema Hameed, Girish Nair, Nidhi Choudhary

Chapter 15. Employee Engagement—A Driving Force for Sustaining Employees

Human resources are a dynamic, volatile (resource) available (to an) organisation which (results in) a significant advantage or disadvantage. There are two sets of employees, engaged and the disengaged to their organisations. The first set of employees is highly committed and give higher productivity and low turnover which becomes a basis of competitive advantage, while the other is not so committed and hence becomes a liability with low productivity and high cost to the organisation. Sustainability thus has become the strategic imperative of the new millennium. This is true of every sector including the health care sector. This paper attempts to study the role of the engagement practices on employee sustainability in organisations. It was conducted among the health care professionals namely nurses in hospitals since the studies show the attrition rate among nurses is very high. Primary data was collected from the respondents using the survey method through a structured questionnaire. A detailed analysis of the dimension of the engagement namely the cognitive and the emotional component was studied for its relationship and impact on the employee sustainability. The employee sustainability is studied using the measures of job satisfaction, staying intention and the organisational identification. The study reveals that organisations would benefit from understanding and measuring employee engagement, decide on the standards which can serve as a basis for reward system, staying intention, turnover and to calculate the cost involved in the recruitment, training and retaining employees.
B. Aiswarya, G. Ramasundaram

Chapter 16. Examining the Role of HR Practice and Employee Engagement on Employee’s Loyalty—The Sustainability Dimensions of Textile Industry in Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s textile industry has come a long way and emerged as a front-runner across the globe. The industry is expected to grow even faster than before and will continue to dominate in the fast paced global market in future too. Bangladesh is the second-fastest growing economy in South Asia where GDP growth rate was 7.11% in 2016. Despite the industry’s remarkable contribution toward its GDP (28.1%), there is a huge turnover of employees which may put this sector’s long-term development at stake. Employee engagement as an important HR practice assumes significance in this context to ensure employee loyalty in organizations. HR practices are prevalent in most of the organizations including the textile sector, but would require focus on long-term sustainability to solve the issues in organizations. The study adopted Gallup’s scale to assess the engagement level of employees by recognizing the rudimentary worth of exchange with employees and also how optimally reorganize and proficiently foster all phases of employee engagement so that they would become a productive workforce with lower intention to leave. Empirical findings of the study indicate that HR practices and employee engagement have positive impact on employee loyalty. The study suggests that management should focus on sustainability-driven change in practices in order to retain the talent pool in the long run and reduce turnover.
Salahuddin Ahmed, Sapna Singh

Chapter 17. Emotional Intelligence and Its Importance in Sustainable Development of Human Resources: A Conceptual Model

It is established that human resources form the backbone of any organization. From an employer’s perspective, employee-friendly policy practices make the employees satisfied with their work and to retain them in the organization. Even from the employee’s perspective, the task accomplishment in the given work standards cannot be achieved with intelligence only, thus requiring emotional stability to sustain the challenges in the contemporary context. This paper attempts to study the importance of emotional intelligence (EI) through human resource practices that leads to sustainable development. The study focused and proposed a conceptual model to illustrate the importance of EI in the sustainability of human resources through select HR practices (recruitment and selection, performance management, compensation or incentives). Secondary data was used in the study. Data was gathered from the literature and scholarly articles relating to EI. A conceptual model was proposed linking the importance of EI in sustainable development of human resources. The proposed model illustrates that EI is a construct that helps in sustaining and developing workforce in organization. EI helps employees to deal with themselves and others to enable them to be productive. The study revealed that EI was a vital construct for employers in sustaining workforce. Employees understood their emotions and how it affected their decisions. EI was seen as a sine qua non which cannot be overlooked in a milieu of competition amongst organizations.
Christabel Odame, Mrinalini Pandey, Pramod Pathak

Chapter 18. The Green Road to Environmental Performance: A Study of Private Banking Sector in Colombo District, Sri Lanka

The challenging business setting requires the companies to adopt and pay a greater attention to the sustainability and environment concerns, in addition to their profit. Currently, many organizations are undertaking green practices to promote social responsibility among workers at the workplace. This study links “green HRM and environmental performance” to the Sri Lankan context. It aims to examine the influence of green HRM practices (green recruitment, green training and development and green employee involvement) on the performance of the employees in the selected private banks in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The data collected from 200 structured questionnaires from employees of the selected private banks comprised the sample for the study. Data was analysed by using SPSS (21.0). Descriptive analysis and regression analysis were carried out. The results indicate that green recruitment has a significant impact on environmental performance while green employee involvement has been eliminated from the model. This emphasizes that human resource is provoked to behave due to the sophisticated green HRM practices which are internally embedded into the personalized behaviour rather formal remits.
P. N. Sandaruwan, U. K. Thalgaspitiya, W. N. Hettiarachchi

Chapter 19. Sustainability and Sustainable HRM—Some Aspects

Profound changes in technology, competition and performance has revolutionized the organizational activity impacting the HRM function in contemporary organizations. Further, increasing pressures of competitive advantage has significantly influenced the HRM strategies and practices, thus making people management, a complex function. Ensuring the sustainability of organizations, through HRM practices, assumes importance in this context. This chapter presents the diverse, yet innovative and unique practices of the organizations, and the experiments of practitioners along with the focus of researchers linking organizational sustainability with the different facets of HRM.
Sita Vanka, Swati Singh, Madasu Bhaskara Rao
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