Enviropreneurial management : an effective approach to cope with the ecological challenge
Humankind is the major force influencing our planet earth. Irreversible environmental degradation are a widespread problem. Atmospheric changes, worsening climate, ozone depletion, etc. is accompanying our daily life. From the ecological perspective the future of the 21's century is endangered. A change of consumption pattern, material thinking, lifestyles have to change fundamentally. It may even require to break with 'business-asusual'. In the age of continuously and rapidly changing competitive environments, companies are increasingly forced to be highly flexible and responsive to changes having an impact on their competitiveness or even affecting the firm's viability. "Entrepreneurship" is an emerging practice, which involves the application of an entrepreneurial spirit to established businesses. The management style is seen to embody the appropriate characteristics for surviving or even growing in a constantly changing environment. A major objective of this research is to determine whether an entrepreneurial management style has an impact on the ecological approach a firm may adopt. For this purpose a mail survey of 500 German firms across all industries was undertaken in the first phase. The aim is to further determine whether firms adopting a proactive ecological approach meet the ecological challenge in a strategic manner. In order to achieve this objective a case study approach was chosen in the second phase based on ten interviews conducted in the food & allied industry. The survey aimed at examining the management style, organisational structure and the business environment of 212 firms to determine firms' nature and style of strategic response to their business environment. Moreover, firms' ecological orientation and ecological environment is measured to determine to which degree firms are proactively oriented. Based on this, the relationship between the management style adopted by firms and the ecological approach is analysed. The results of the survey suggest that firms' response to the ecological issue is strongly influenced by the way in which they respond to business challenges or changes in the business environment. Furthermore, the case study aimed at identifying the degree to which firms integrate the ecological issue into their strategic behaviour. Another aim is to analyse if the relationship between management style and ecological approach can be confirmed further, thus supporting the results of the first phase. The results indicate that a proactive ecological approach demands a comprehensive way of realisation. The ecological issue should be an integral part of the firms' strategic management process and be approached in a strategic manner. Thus, the research project strongly suggests that an entrepreneurial style supported by organic organisational structures is seen as the appropriate approach to follow the path of an ecologically sustainable future. An entrepreneurial approach will enable firms to be innovative and thus inducing fundamental changes with regard to ecological matters. Far-reaching environmental improvements are needed to take a large step towards a sustainable society. An entrepreneurial environmental approach enables firms to anticipate and give fresh impetus to the ecological development. However, it has to be kept in mind that all forces upsetting the equilibrium of the global system have to be handled sustainably.