Managing change for environmental sustainability: an international comparison of small and medium enterprises in the fabric and textile industry

McGrew, Linda Lisa (2016) Managing change for environmental sustainability: an international comparison of small and medium enterprises in the fabric and textile industry. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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McGrewDBAThesis 12 Jul 2016.pdf

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As environmental sustainability (ES) efforts gain traction globally, pressure is mounting for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to also ‘go green’. Literature pertaining to change management in SMEs in a variety of geographical regions is available; however very little is known regarding ES intentions, initiatives, change management and outcomes in SMEs, especially within the specific context of the Fabric and Textile (FT) Industry. This study uses in-depth interviews to gather rich data from 12 ES ‘champions’ in the FT industries of Canada, the US and Australia. The results help to fill theoretical gaps relating to attitudes, motivations, barriers, change management, and outcomes of ES change in SMEs. Furthermore, an international comparison is completed. The research contributes to motivational and change management theory for both small and medium enterprises and sustainability change.

The findings indicate that by far the most important factors that influence ES change include attitudes such as seeing social, economic and emotional value in ES, perceived behavioural control as in SME owner/managers believing they have control for the most part to make the change, subjective norms including books, people, timing, culture, government, and motivations, which were to inspire and promote change, internal values, to educate others, business success, environmental impact, personal health, and to prove others wrong. However, often intentions and motivations can be present without any ensuing action. Barriers such as price, consumers, cost, infrastructure and government, and expectations as in to make change, job satisfaction, buy-in, financial success, and nothing, help or hinder the conversion of the influential factors into actions. Once an SME in the FT industry begins its change journey, the ES actions including fibre choice, recycling, decrease in fossil fuel use, dyes and printing choices, alternative energy, design and modality are determined to be much more important than having a strategic or written plan, which was identified as being primarily in the DNA of the owner-manager, creating an ES culture either through leading by example or communicating well, or leadership style - either hands off or hands on. Lastly, the results of this study provide a lengthy list of positive organisational outcomes, including happier and harder working staff, cost savings, helping communities through local economies, employment and awareness, adapting a competitive strategy, helping, and personal pride.

The dissertation concludes with commentary on both theoretical and methodological implications for researchers, practical implications for SME managers and policy makers, and implications for further research.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) (Research) thesis.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Management and Enterprise
Supervisors: Wiesner, Professor Retha
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2016 03:02
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2017 04:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: environmental sustainability; textile industry; sustainable businesses; green businesses; attitudes; motivations; influences; change management
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1504 Commercial Services > 150499 Commercial Services not elsewhere classified
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150314 Small Business Management
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management

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