Environmental management practices in the independent accommodation sector : a motivational perspective
This thesis seeks to develop an understanding of hospitality businesses and their relationship with the environment, thereby developing the subject discipline by addressing an under-researched area. Specifically, it seeks to provide an empirically based understanding of the rationale and process behind the decision to adopt environmental management practices, with a view to encourage their wider adoption in the industry through the successful promotion of environmental initiatives. Accordingly, the study addresses three main dimensions: the process of decision-making and the decisional factors leading to the decision; the rationale behind it; and the outcome of the decision. To suit the explorative nature of the investigation the research adopts an interpretivist, qualitative approach using semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with a sample of purposively selected owner-managers of serviced accommodation establishments in Scotland. Participating businesses were all members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, an environmental accreditation scheme for tourism businesses. The data is analysed following Crabtree and Miller's (1992) template approach to coding in the first stage of analysis, and a cognitive mapping approach based on Kelly's Personal Construct Theory (1955) in the secondary stage of analysis. The analytical software used for the development and analysis of cognitive maps is Decision Explorer. The trustworthiness of the study is ensured by addressing the four criteria of credibility, transferability, dependability and confirmability. The study found that the decision to adopt environmental management practices reflected a lifestyle choice, was driven by personal values and beliefs and influenced by a wealth of personal, socio-cultural and situational factors. Four distinct motivational groups were identified based on the emerging rationale for action: Profit-motivated Greens (financially driven), Practival Greens (both financially and ethically driven), Ethical Greens (ethically driven) and Holistic Greens (also ethically driven but to a greater extent). Variations in personal environment ethic, personal construct of environmental practices and the type of value attributed to action further distinguished respondents in the four typologies. Attitudinal, operational and financial factors were found to act as constraints to further action. A range of intrinsic benefits (personal satisfaction and peace of mind) as well as extrinsic benefits (financial, operational and marketing) were acknowledged following adoption of environmental practices and participation in the scheme. It is concluded that whilst promotion strategies should continue to promote the financial benefits of environmental involvement, equal consideration should be given to appealing to the moral conscience of individual business owners. Efforts should also seek to educate operators on action strategies and on the value of their contribution. A need for improved support and infrastructure is identified. Finally, in order to attract participation, environmental accreditation schemes such as the Green Tourism Business Scheme, which provides the context for this study, must prove commercially beneficial to businesses. This, it is argued, can only be achieved through improved promotion, and consequently, widespread consumer recognition. Recommendations are provided as a basis for action in this direction.