Understanding value conflict to engage SME managers with business greening

Williams, Sarah; Schaefer, Anja and Blundel, Richard (2017). Understanding value conflict to engage SME managers with business greening. In: Rendtorff, Jacob Dahl ed. Perspectives on Philosophy of Management and Business Ethics. Ethical Economy: Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosphy. Springer, pp. 73–91.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-46973-7

Abstract

The objective of this chapter is to contribute to the understanding of why SME managers engage with business greening. Ethical tensions are understood through use of the Schwartz Value System. The starting assumption is that the business framing of the environment, to save money and save the planet (win-win), is not value free but draws on conflicting values of power and universalism. The empirical research for this chapter engaged 31 SME managers from a variety of business sectors within the East of England in semi-structured interviews. The results showed that 'power' values are not the only way of filtering and constructing business greening. Managers were found to be drawingo n the full range of values with marker values linked with 'achievement' particularly clear. It is concluded that manager values, especially within SMEs, are key to understanding the interplay of motivations for engaging with business greening. The 'win-win' concept needs to evolve to take managers beyond quick financial savings. It is argued that one way to do that may be to reframe environmental issues for business to stimulate values other than power. Practitioner work, in partnership with Bedfordshire Green Business Network (GBM), reports the usefulness of such approaches.

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