In the modern era operations carried out by business enterprises are badly affects surroundings and it is leading to various type of damages. Organizational operations such as manufacturing is leading to pollution such as air, water etc. Therefore, it is necessarily required for companies to indulge into activities through which environmental burden can be reduced to extent. The entire study being carried is based on the article named going green which is linked with the environmental practices that business enterprise undertakes so as to save surroundings from its adverse impact (Rang, 2011). Further, the entire research paper being published has been analysed critically in order to assess strength, weakness and limitations of the study. Moreover, the concept of corporate greening has been discussed and all the motives that encourages firm to indulge in eco-friendly practices. Apart from this the model of compose sequence analysis has been discussed where all the phases present in it has been discussed that makes practices of firm in favour of the environment and in turn has positive impact on it.
CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
Critical appraisal refers to the process of careful and systematic examination of research in order to analyse its trustworthiness, value and overall relevance in particular context. It focuses on the way in which study is carried out and examines factors such as generalizability, internal validity and relevance of the study.
The main objective of this paper is to examine the process through which micro-businesses “go green”. Further, this objective totally focuses on the ways through which firms can reduce its environmental impact and in turn it is possible to save surroundings in every possible manner (Krall and Steven, 2003).
The investigator wants to end up this study by focusing on the green practices which is associated in relation with small businesses. Moreover, importance of environmentally sustainable business has been shown in the entire research paper along with the four areas of motivation which are stakeholder pressure, economic opportunity, legislation and ethical motives. Further, to accomplish the aims and objectives of the research various tools and techniques have been employed by researcher such as approach, design, data collection, analysis etc (Mallin, 2009). The present article would fit into the different studies being carried out by various authors on the sustainability practices of the firm. Further, main focus of every organization is on reducing its environmental burden as it directly has positive impact on the brand image of enterprise. At present various authors have focused on the green practices and they have highlighted this topic so that practices of companies may be more environmental friendly.
Laughlin middle range thinking
The overall concept associated with environmental protection has gained importance in the late 1980's. Further, various studies have been conducted which are associated with green initiatives and has supported in understanding about the drivers of motivation for environmental friendly activities. Moreover, it has assisted in knowing the motive behind environment and socially responsible businesses. It further explores the environmental responsiveness and overall relation between different motivating factors (Frynas, 2005) . The study carried out by Richard Laughlin on accounting practices considers tri-partite approach to explore middle range thinking. Further, the author has segregated research into three divisions which are interpretative, positivist and critical. Laughlin identified that positivist approach to accounting research are characterised by ontological belief that their is more to be explored and large amount of hypothesis is required to be tested. Further, he said that interpretive approach lacks skeptical view which is also affected by lack of hypothesis testing and understanding of models. Further, difference has been identified in critical as well as interpretive study on the basis of adoption of particular context in relation with the aim and nature of the study (Zinkin, 2011).
The main aim with which this article was developed is to explore and map the development of the green practices within micro businesses. Further, case study approach was employed for the accomplishment of the aim of the research. As per view of Esposito (2009) many drivers are present in the business environment that encourages organization to be environmentally responsible but it is possible that drivers may differs from small and medium organizations. Further, different type of businesses operates in the market such as small, medium and micro which differs from one another in every context. Micro businesses are different from those of small one in terms of conditions along with variables which influences their environmental behaviour (Watson, 2005).
The objective set for the study supports in knowing how small businesses are indulging into green practices so as to improve their overall performance in the market. Further, it is assisting firms to deal with the challenges present in the environment due to increase in overall burden on surroundings. However Hopkins (2007) argued that every company has set aims for making its practices environmental friendly and it is leading to favourable results. Drivers such as media pressure on industries like oil and gas, mining etc is leading to development of greener practices. But, on the other hand research of business event management has highlighted that many drivers and barriers are present in the development of environmental practices (Post, 2003).
This can be better understood with the examples of firm such as Nike performing green marketing activities, Sony mobile where firm has adopted practices of recycling its products etc. In short, all the activities carried out in favour of environment has positive impact on brand image and due to this specific reason companies are able to retain its customers for longer period of time. As per view of Husted and Allen (2011) sustainability is regarded as one of the most crucial issue as companies are not able to identify the practices that can have positive impact on the surroundings. Further, pressure of outside parties such as government and other private authorities is increasing at faster pace due to which it is not possible for organizations to perform better (Mallin, 2009).
Further, four basic motives are present for corporate greening which involves legislation, stakeholder pressure, economic opportunities and ethical motives. All these motives encourages business enterprise to indulge into activities which are in favour of surroundings and reduces adverse impact on surroundings. According to Jacopin and Fontrodona (2009) legislation is regarded as one of the most crucial factor which leads to adoption of corporate greening for micro businesses as various laws and legislations have been introduced that companies have to comply with for making its operations eco-friendly.
Due to introduction of laws business enterprises have to alter their practices so that they are in favour of the surroundings and can lead to decline in pollution and other unfavourable practices (Kotler and Lee, 2011). However Kim and Nofsinger (2007) argued that practices of micro businesses have changed after introduction of governmental rules and regulations and it is supporting companies to save environment and developing the surroundings more greener. Further, stakeholder pressure is also one of the motive for corporate greening where organizations are being pressurized by shareholders, customers, government etc to indulge into practices that supports in reducing environmental burden (Kim and Nofsinger, 2007).
Economic opportunities is also considered as one of the major motive for corporate greening as it is well known fact that many opportunities are present in the economy where firm operates such as increasing profitability and market share by providing right quality products to the target market. Therefore, due to this basic reason firms are focusing on more greener activities which can benefit management in every possible manner. Apart from this the economic opportunities being present leads to long term benefits and in turn company can deal with major challenges such as rise in competition level in the market. As per view of Kluyver (2010) ethical motive encourages business enterprise to develop its business in favour of surroundings. In the competitive market it is required for every entity to carry out its activities which is ethical and fair enough to attract large number of customers (Kluyver, 2010).
CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The research onion represents the overall tools and techniques present in the research which are being used so as to carry out research in effective manner. It highlights the philosophies, approaches, strategies, choices, data analysis techniques present in the research which are fruitful and leads to accomplishment of desired goals and objectives.
Different philosophies in research are present which are being used in the study and it involves pragmatism, realism etc. In the present research paper pragmatism or positivism philosophy has been applied where this approach to science is best suited with the problem associated with the study. In short this philosophy grants freedom to researcher to use any technique, and procedure linked with the quantitative or qualitative research. Further, each method has its own limitations and the different approaches can be complementary. Moreover, there exist large number of techniques for obtaining crucial information linked with study which involves face to face interview etc (Kim and Nofsinger, 2007). The basic reason behind adoption of pragmatism approach is that due to monetary and temporal limitations. Through this philosophy it has become easy for researcher to focus on viewpoints, that investigator needs to focus on and the phenomenology focuses on the meaning and overall provision of the human interest. The main reason behind not selecting other philosophy such as realism and interpretivism are not applicable as as in realism objects are present independently of the knowledge of researcher. Further, interpretivism supports in understanding the overall difference between human in their role as social actors. These two philosophies are not applicable for the study.
Inductive approach has been employed by researcher where results move from specific to general. The entire research has been carried out from viewpoint of small companies and the findings of the research is applicable to every firm where it may be big or small. Specific small size companies have been chosen for study in order to explore and map the development of green practices within the micro businesses (Kotler and Lee, 2011). Further, 6 businesses have been selected which shows inductive approach has been employed. The main reason behind not selecting deductive approach is that specified results can be obtained instead of generalized one as this approach provides findings which are applicable to entire sector or industry.
For conducting the research in effective manner various tools and techniques have been employed by researcher through which it is possible to attain the expected findings. Exploratory research design has been adopted where main motive is to explore and map the development of green practices within micro businesses (Jacopin and Fontrodona, 2009). Further, case study approach has been employed where sample of six businesses has been employed for conducting research. The main reason behind selection of case study approach is that the entire study is based on the case of six businesses which belongs to different sectors such as hotel and restaurant, consultancy, manufacturer, guest house, construction etc. Basically in case study research specific case is selected which is linked to an individual, company, action etc. Further, all the companies considered in the study were located within the Lake District National park in Cumbria, UK. The basic aim due to which this area has been chosen is that in this area economy is based around micro level businesses along with this economic importance of the National park is due to natural beauty and it acts as tourist attraction. As per view of Korten (2001) it is required to focus on limited geographical areas at the time of dealing with small business organisations along with the environment and communities where firm carries out its operations. The businesses sampled for the study involves hotel and restaurant, consultancy, manufacturer, construction, internet retailer and guest house (Hopkins, 2007).
Data has been collected from primary source where employees from every six businesses has been selected so as to collected information from them. On the other hand data has been collected from owner managers where oral account of each owner manager life history and semi structured interview with the manager was recorded along with business activities and installations were observed (Kotler and Lee, 2011). Moreover, different business websites were undertaken along with documentary evidence such as newspaper, magazine etc for obtaining secondary information. The life history of owner manage life is fruitful in rendering longitudinal perspective on the tasks of the business. The semi structured interview being conducted ensured that required background information about firm was obtained and key themes were formed accordingly. Interview being carried out was totally structured and it focused on the motivation for, source of, and reactions to green activities within the business. In short, it assisted in knowing how small businesses are altering its activities so as to save environment and reducing overall burden. However Krall and Steven (2003) argued that through proper study it is possible to identify what are the practices of company in favour of the surroundings and it can be ensured whether they are effective or not (Esposito, 2009).
The study is qualitative is nature as data is not present in numeric form and for analysing the crucial data collected themes have been formed through which overall response provided by respondents can be known easily. Further, statistical tools have not been adopted for analysing information due to which this study is not quantitative in nature. On the other hand after collection of information through sample size chosen data was analysed where in the first stage entire information was scanned in order to assess the green activities of the company and it involves tasks along with practices that are undertaken by company in present and past (Mallin, 2009). In the second stage all the tasks were ordered as per the time period in which they have started and ended too. In the third stage all the interviews taken were reviewed along with websites and documents in order to assess drivers and connections between key tasks. At this stage outcome was tabulated for each organization. Further, the fourth stage is linked with constructing a sequence analysis into one composite sequence analysis.
In the study model has been developed in relation with how companies go green and it represents that each organization began to engage itself into green activities from one of two different business perspectives but every enterprise has passed through three phases of greening each one of which is characterised by different activities along with drivers. The entire model starts with initial focus where six businesses have been segregated into two main groups in terms of their initial focus as they began to indulge into green practices. The first group (Case A, D, E and F) did not set out with an explicit environmental brief. Initial activity has an economic focus which considers ADEF and driven focus consists of BC (Midttun and et.al., 2007). Moreover, the fist phase of exploration consists of cost saving where green practices saves overall business cost and main motive of enterprise is to save funds. Personal ethics states that to engage in environmental friendly activities is the personal ethical beliefs of the owners managers. Further, personal ethics was key factor in the development of environmental friendly practices. It involves business legitimisation which is associated with the businesses which are value driven where the green activities of the organization are driven by the desire to establish the marketability and credibility of business rather than cost. Sustainable is the another main activity in the model which directly arises from the personal ethics of the owner and manager. Formal environmental policies is also considered where all the policies developed guides action of the firm and it is considered as the way to gain recognition in the society. External assistance involves the kind of external support that came from variety of sources such as public and private businesses, product manufacturers etc. Energy usage is also another effective practice which can be accomplished through support of external bodies (Post, 2003).
Next phase is of substantiation which involves social capital and networking where networking tasks are developments, knowledge, sharing of ideas etc. Publicity is present which is linked with networking and gaining positive publicity for the firm. Branding is also involved in this stage as through this business can easily differentiate itself from those of its competitors in the market. In the last stage of integration external support is considered which can be in terms of finance and expertise. In this stage businesses take advice from outside parties such as financing options and packaging along with technical advice regarding viability of installation and the potential impact of different technologies (Rang, 2011). Apart from this competitive advantage and greater investment are the two stages considered. Therefore, the entire model focuses on green practices and the stages which business has to pass through. The main reason behind development of this model is to better understand the sustainability practices of small firms and what are the benefits derived after indulging into green practices.
CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE RESEARCH CONCLUSION
The entire study has supported in identifying the real drivers of green activities in micro businesses that are not static in nature. The green practices adopted by the six different organizations are benefiting surroundings in every possible manner but they posses capability to change contextual dimensions of praxis (Solomon, 2011). Further, this also leads to change in motivation due to which further development has taken place in praxis. Micro businesses operating in the market are indulged into green activities which can be better understood as process of incremental change that consists of different stages such as integration, substantiation etc. Each stage depends on one another and has various drivers which requires different type of support.
The overall research conclusion reached by author is that drivers associated with green activities in micro businesses does not changes at all and green practices are adopted so that they can alter the contextual dimension of praxis (Watson, 2005). The way in which small businesses indulge into green activities can be regarded as an incremental process which takes into consideration various phases. In short the overall findings have large number of impact on small businesses especially those who are involved in development of policy and for further research. Study has shown that to indulge into green practices is very important for small businesses as through this it is possible for companies to serve its target market in better manner and will act as development tool. Further, the conclusion derived adds to the academic understanding the area of research as through this students and other individuals can understand about the green practices and its overall significance in the present era. Further, the scope of the study is also wide as the main issue facing every organization is linked with sustainability practices so that business can maximum contribute to the society (Zinkin, 2011).
On the other hand lack of segregation between ownership and management within a small business states that there had been a perception and less inclination for firm to report externally. The research has highlighted that micro-businesses still finds value in external reporting of social responsibilities tasks. Further, reporting on external basis can be valuable source of social capital with the help of publicity and in terms of developing credibility with suppliers and customers of firm. Moreover, the social responsibility reports published by the companies are beneficial through which it can be known whether practices of firm are environmental friendly or not (Corporate Responsibility, 2013). All the stakeholders of the company gets idea regarding the internal operations and it can be ensured whether they are having positive impact on surroundings or not (Frynas, 2005).
CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The entire study was based on the concept of corporate greening where six businesses have been chosen that operates on micro level. So, the major limitation of this study is that only limited number of organizations have been chosen for undertaking research as large number of small sized firms are operating in the market and they have not been chosen for carrying out study. Therefore, results of present research may not be appropriate due to limited number of organizations chosen. Further, information in the study has been collected from the staff members of the six firms and it also acted as limitation as accuracy of data is one of the issue which can lead to interpretation of wrong results. Moreover, some specific activities of the organizations were chosen in order to know whether their activities are environmental friendly or not but on the basis of some activities it is not possible to ensure eco-friendly activities of the enterprise (Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), 2013).
Therefore, it is also one of the major limitation in the research where it is necessary to analyse each and every internal operation of the company so as to ensure that firm is working in favour of environment. Apart from this, other sectors businesses are also present which have more adverse impact on the surroundings. Therefore, in future other sectors and industries can be chosen for conducting research and their operations can be analysed so as to know whether they activities are in favour of surroundings or not. Moreover, on other companies same study can be carried rather than only on micro-businesses as their practices are also not in favour of surroundings. Therefore, these are some of the major limitations linked with the research along with some suggestions provided on the future areas of research where various researcher can consider.
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