Academic journal article E+M Ekonomie a Management

Environmental Strategy: A Typology of Companies Based on Managerial Perceptions of Customers' Environmental Activeness and deterrents/Environmental Strategie: Typologie Podniku Na Zaklade Manazerskeho Vnimani Environmentalne Aktivniho Jednani Ci Zdrzenlivosti Zakazniku

Academic journal article E+M Ekonomie a Management

Environmental Strategy: A Typology of Companies Based on Managerial Perceptions of Customers' Environmental Activeness and deterrents/Environmental Strategie: Typologie Podniku Na Zaklade Manazerskeho Vnimani Environmentalne Aktivniho Jednani Ci Zdrzenlivosti Zakazniku

Article excerpt

Introduction

Environmental issues and the inclusion of environmental strategies in strategic thinking is an interesting subject of investigation. In general, managerial practices organized along ecologically sound principles contribute to amore environmentally sustainable global economy [63]. From the managerial perspective, appropriate environmental strategies in compliance with environmental requirements aim at building competitive advantages through sustainable development. There is no universal "green" strategy that would be appropriate for each company, regardless of its market requirements and competitive situations. Instead, managers undertake careful consideration of the circumstances in which their company operates, paying special attention to their customers' environmental preferences.

A review of the relevant literature shows that a wide range of research deals with customers, especially with their environmental sensitivity and responsibility (e.g. [18], [23], [59]). Extensive literature also exists in the area of environmental marketing [24], [48] and cause-related marketing [13]. These studies are largely limited to the views and behaviors of two groups of stakeholders, customers and marketing channel partners [47]. But what is missing in the literature are studies exploring the role of perceptions that managers have of these stakeholders, in particular the managerial perceptions regarding the customers' environmental concerns. Corporate environmentalism largely results from positive managerial perceptions of the customers' environmental concerns and favorable response to corporate environmental initiatives [11].

More specifically, the managers' understanding of their customers' readiness for environmental action and the factors that deter the customers from environmental action will likely impact the development of the environmental strategies and the subsequent implementation of environmentally responsible practices in companies. For example, when managers (be it correctly or wrongly) perceive that customers are not strongly concerned about the environment and are unwilling to support environmental initiatives, the company will less likely develop and implement environmentally responsible strategies. As a result, rather than mimicking the past studies that explore customers' behavior and perceptions, we focus on managerial perceptions of the customers' readiness for environmental action and the potential deterrents to it. We aim not to test the correctness of managerial perceptions, but rather to explore the similarities and differences in these perceptions across a representative sample of Slovenian manufacturing companies and the subsequent variability in companies' environmental strategies, including the motives for and results of such strategies.

The purpose of this paper is to address the suggested literature gap by: (1) identifying diverse groups of companies based on the managerial perceptions of the customers' environmental activeness and deterrents; and (2) investigating the differences among these groups of companies in their environmental strategies as well as the motives for and the results of these strategies. By focusing on the role of managerial perceptions of customers' environmental activeness and deterrents, insights will be provided into environmental strategies on two hierarchical levels, the corporate and the functional marketing environmental strategy, thus enhancing our understanding of environmental strategies beyond the general strategic activities of companies. The study therefore contributes to a better understanding of the managerial perceptions of customers' environmental activeness and deterrents in different types of companies and the subsequent differences in these companies' environmental strategies.

1. Conceptual Background

1.1 Environmental Strategies

Banerjee [6], [8] mentions several examples of the integration of environmental considerations into the strategic planning process: introduction of clean technologies, waste reduction and recycling, packaging modifications, education of employees, suppliers and customers etc. …

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