Building green capability in small-to-medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMMEs)

Phan, M 2008, Building green capability in small-to-medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMMEs), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Management, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Building green capability in small-to-medium-sized manufacturing enterprises (SMMEs)
Author(s) Phan, M
Year 2008
Abstract Despite the widely acknowledged contention that pollution control measures would be less beneficial than pollution prevention technologies in the long run, pollution control approaches remain a popular solution for organizations seeking, or coerced, to engage in corporate environmentalism. Drawing on the conceptual underpinnings of the Theory of Planned Behaviour as an integrative framework, this study combines the tenets of five major management theories - institutional, stakeholder, planned behaviour, resource-based view, and life-cycle management - to examine how and why small and medium sized manufacturing enterprises (SMMEs) embrace dissimilar approaches to implementing green initiatives under different circumstances. This research adopted a nested, multiple-case design to explore why some organizations have been able to obtain beneficial effects from their green initiat ive implementation while others have not. The findings, based on the experiences of seven SMMEs, which implemented a total of 27 green initiatives in their production operations, reveal that legislative requirements, stakeholders' expectations, organizations' natural environmental orientation, as well as their environmental resource base and capabilities, jointly drive corporate environmental strategies. The case study found that the higher the external pressures, a combination of legislative requirements and stakeholder expectations, the more likely it was for SMMEs to adopt quick-fix, off-the-shelve solutions, which typically carried limited short-term benefits with associated high long-term costs. By contrast, less intense external pressures offer firms the opportunities to explore plausible options and exploit internal resource capabilities to advantage, giving rise to the adoption of more sustainable approaches. The study further discovers that experiential learning, i.e., a firm's ability to learn f rom its green initiative implementation experience, separates SMMEs capable of capitalizing on the values of their implemented green initiatives to gain competitive advantages and redefine competition from those that are immersed in a cognitive lock-in, unable to free themselves from an unproductive green wall. The findings suggest that nurturing organizational learning among environmentally resistive firms could transform them into environmentally responsible enterprises. The study concludes by interpreting its findings into a number of theoretical propositions for theory building in corporate environmental management.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Management
Keyword(s) Environment and management
Small business -- Environmental aspects
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