of the population of a developing country? How do the green practices of different organisations affect climate scepticism in society? These are some of the questions Sehar Zulfiqar, a guest researcher at CIAS from Pakistan is studying.
This is not the first time Sehar Zulfiqar is spending a longer period of time in Hungary. The Pakistani-born researcher completed her doctoral studies at the University of Debrecen, and that was when she came to like the country. A former fellow student drew her attention to the CIAS guest researcher fellowship, under which she is now spending a semester at Corvinus.
Sehar, a researcher studying human resource management, more specifically organisational behaviour, is currently investigating how different organisations and institutions can contribute to sustainability and environment protection through the use of green human resource management and how this approach affects employee behaviour. The green human resource management (GHRM) approach refers to all policies and organisational practices that encourage employees to behave in a more environmentally responsible way.
The novelty of the research lies in the fact that Sehar Zulfiqar looks at the issue in the context of developing countries: ‘the nature of the challenges in these countries is very different from that of the challenges in the developed Western world. Literacy rates are lower and, at the same time, people are inherently less environmentally conscious.’
Sehar Zulfiqar’s findings show that if an organisation in a developing country adopts green human resource management, it can have an impact not only on the behaviour of its employees, but also on the attitude of society as a whole: ‘it is particularly interesting to look at this issue through the lens of climate change. In Pakistan, for example, a certain part of the society is climate sceptic. It is exciting to observe what change processes the application of green human resource management will trigger in climate change deniers’. The researcher added that she experienced a huge change at the Corvinus, too, in attitudes towards sustainability issues compared to the situation she saw four or five years ago.
She has felt very much at home in CIAS from the very beginning. As a positive feature, she mentions the international environment at the institute and the fact that she can talk to researchers from all over the world every day. As she spends most of the year teaching and running a professional organisation in Pakistan, she has less time for research at home. That’s why she considers the CIAS guest researcher fellowship programme a great opportunity for professional development, allowing her to focus on her research for a year.
When I ask her about her hobbies, she laughs and says that even now she mostly just researches or reads literature in her spare time, because she wants to have tangible research results from this period. When she feels she has done enough professional work, she likes to take a walk along the banks of the Danube: ‘I love Budapest, I think it’s a very liveable and peaceful city,’ adds the Pakistani researcher.