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Creating Sustainable Workplaces Together: Employee Relations Practice and Environmental Management

Bratton, Andrew



The aim of this research is to examine how employee relations enables and improves environmental management in the workplace. The objective is to understand the dynamics around the relationship between existing HR practices, individual and collective employee relations and environmental management, as well as to explore the opportunities for management-union partnership working and mutual gains. This research employs a mixed methods approach in which qualitative and quantitative data were collected in six public and private sector organisations in local government, health, higher education, transport and energy in Scotland. To establish context and identify key employee relations processes under investigation, the research design incorporated extensive fieldwork, such as selective semi-structured interviews and focus groups involving eighty-seven HR managers, environmental managers, line managers, union representatives and employees. My contribution to the field of human resource management (HRM) is to demonstrate the importance of employee relations in supporting environmental management, and to show that partnership working and mutual gains can be a feature of a sustainable workplace. The evidence from this thesis shows that high-quality employee-manager relations and active engagement involving managers, employees and trade union representatives can influence environmental outcomes in the workplace. This thesis indicates a strong association between the implementation of sustainability initiatives and employee involvement and participation (EIP). Methodological contributions are made by adopting a mixed methods approach, including focus groups, to gather data from multiple stakeholders to understand how employee relations influence environmental management in the workplace. Empirical contributions are made to the nascent body of Green Human Resource Management (GHRM) research relating to the drivers of and barriers to change, the unintended consequences arising from some HR practices, and the potential for mutual gains in a sustainability strategy. This thesis provides an alternative approach to much mainstream GHRM research, in that it is more inclusive for it gives voice to all workplace stakeholders.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jul 14, 2021
Keywords Sustainability, Environmental Management, Leadership, Human Resource Management, Employment Relations, Employee Voice, Trade Union, Mutual Gains
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Award Date Dec 16, 2016