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Strategic intent in the management of the green environment within SMEs: the case of the screen-printing sector

Strategic intent in the management of the green environment within SMEs: the case of the screen-printing sector
Strategic intent in the management of the green environment within SMEs: the case of the screen-printing sector
Companies are increasingly accepting responsibility for the environment and putting in place measure that meet the green demands of customers, shareholders and politicians. Only a few however tout these environmental measures as their unique selling point and seek to gain a competitive advantage from instituting them. The small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector in the UK makes up the majority of businesses and accounts for more than half of turnover. However little attempt has been made to examine the degree to which SME managers make a conscious and deliberate intent to utilise environmental performance as a potential source of competitive advantage. This paper studies one sector under the SME umbrella: the screen-printing industry. It investigates the motivations that underpin the responses of screen-printers in the UK to the pressures to improve their environmental performance and finds that the managerial mindset tends to be reactive, compliance-based and operationally-focused. The paper discusses the possible explanations for this cautious approach and indicates how a more proactive stance might provide a competitive edge. The authors conducted their study through questionnaires and interviews returned from a sample of 65 screen-printing companies in the UK. While some companies identified potential gains from going beyond mere compliance measures, these tended to be couched in operational rather than strategic terms. The authors say that the findings of their study could be applied across the entire SME sector and therefore for many small businesses the environment tends to be seen primarily as a cost imposed by regulatory authorities, rather than as a value-adding activity. The authors warn that given the expectation that environmental regulation will increase, managers should establish a strategy of moving away from a focus on regulatory compliance and towards a position where enhanced environmental action becomes part of the company’s competitive profile.
0024-6301
197-212
Worthington, Ian
b9bb1def-e0bf-421d-b8d6-f458a270a25f
Patton, Dean
eb4a56db-4f69-4dd8-984f-44921143b643
Worthington, Ian
b9bb1def-e0bf-421d-b8d6-f458a270a25f
Patton, Dean
eb4a56db-4f69-4dd8-984f-44921143b643

Worthington, Ian and Patton, Dean (2005) Strategic intent in the management of the green environment within SMEs: the case of the screen-printing sector. Competition and Change, 38 (2), 197-212. (doi:10.1016/j.lrp.2005.01.001).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Companies are increasingly accepting responsibility for the environment and putting in place measure that meet the green demands of customers, shareholders and politicians. Only a few however tout these environmental measures as their unique selling point and seek to gain a competitive advantage from instituting them. The small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector in the UK makes up the majority of businesses and accounts for more than half of turnover. However little attempt has been made to examine the degree to which SME managers make a conscious and deliberate intent to utilise environmental performance as a potential source of competitive advantage. This paper studies one sector under the SME umbrella: the screen-printing industry. It investigates the motivations that underpin the responses of screen-printers in the UK to the pressures to improve their environmental performance and finds that the managerial mindset tends to be reactive, compliance-based and operationally-focused. The paper discusses the possible explanations for this cautious approach and indicates how a more proactive stance might provide a competitive edge. The authors conducted their study through questionnaires and interviews returned from a sample of 65 screen-printing companies in the UK. While some companies identified potential gains from going beyond mere compliance measures, these tended to be couched in operational rather than strategic terms. The authors say that the findings of their study could be applied across the entire SME sector and therefore for many small businesses the environment tends to be seen primarily as a cost imposed by regulatory authorities, rather than as a value-adding activity. The authors warn that given the expectation that environmental regulation will increase, managers should establish a strategy of moving away from a focus on regulatory compliance and towards a position where enhanced environmental action becomes part of the company’s competitive profile.

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Published date: 2005

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 37221
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/37221
ISSN: 0024-6301
PURE UUID: 616e1fb9-988e-4176-8ab3-ac75abb0965a

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Date deposited: 24 May 2006
Last modified: 29 Jan 2020 17:27

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Contributors

Author: Ian Worthington
Author: Dean Patton

University divisions

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