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Title: Integrating green into business strategies and operations : compatibility analysis and syncretistic perspective
Author: Martinez, Fabien
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 1710
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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The embracing of environmental responsibility by for-profit organisations is a latent concern for contemporary social scientists and management scholars. The Organisation for Economic and Co-operative Development recently published alarming predictions about the impact of human (and especially business) activities on the environment. Both management theorists and business practitioners failed to create the premise for, and inform the direction to, environmental sustainable development – although their interest in raising this challenge has significantly grown throughout the last decade. A number of Environmental corporate Social Responsibility (ESR) theorists are calling for a paradigm in which ethical or moral concerns are reintegrated in the practice of management. A more holistic and integrative perspective on corporate environmental and economic sustainability, it is argued, would generate improvements in the practice of ESR. Such a perspective is currently lacking; partly owing to the allegiance of theorists to atomistic and ‘outmoded’ ways of thinking. This thesis articulates a framework for ESR which prescribes the integration of environmental concerns in the day-to-day culture, processes and activities of a firm. Existing research suggests that the construct of a holistic and comprehensive view of ESR integration requires considerations both of business imperatives and of individuals’ cognitions. A compatibility framework is discussed, through which the operational and normative drivers for ESR integration are integrated. Four scenarios of compatibility are proposed: trade-off, ambidexterity, synergy and symbiosis. The theoretical discussion extends to the consideration of ESR integration as a managerial challenge whereby individual agents of management endeavour to balance objective rationale with subjective morale/ethics in the quest for a considerate environmental response. To examine this challenge, the present study suggests a new direction for theory based on the concept of syncretism – a perspective which received little attention outside the fields of culture and religion. The syncretistic framework is the main contribution of this thesis; it advocates the reconciliation of economic imperatives and environmental concerns via the reintegration of corporate objective (or systemic) and subjective (or constructionist) contingencies. To develop/refine the theoretical propositions, the thesis provides empirical evidence from thirty-seven interviews with business consultants and managers in a UK Brewery. The managers were interviewed more than once. The findings indicate that systemic pressures are often put forward as constraints to ESR integration; whether this translates into shareholders disapproval, economic instability, market volatility, etc. They tend to impinge on the normative engagement of business practitioners and provoke an incapacity or reluctance to change, understand, learn and lead towards syncretistic reconciliation. The analysis portrays the UK Brewery as an environmentally proactive, multi-level responsive company. Drawing upon the syncretistic framework, the firm’s proactive approach is argued to be impeded by a number of systemic factors. The syncretistic and compatibility frameworks, it is alleged, provide substance to the creation of a holistic theory of ESR integration for understanding the specific, and broader, causal mechanisms that are at play. KEY WORDS: corporate environmental responsibility, syncretism, sustainability, strategy management, business performance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)