Employee Engagement in Corporate Greening: A Study of Front-Line Managers in Belarusian Companies

Andrianova, Olga (2019). Employee Engagement in Corporate Greening: A Study of Front-Line Managers in Belarusian Companies. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00010480


The study investigates how front-line managers in a post-Soviet context facilitate learning for corporate greening in their organisations. The topic is addressed by applying situated learning theory, using two concepts – community of practice and boundary objects. Belarus was selected as the country of study because it is a representative example of a post-Soviet transition economy. Using a multiple case study approach, 52 semi-structured interviews among front-line managers, meeting observations and photographs were collected in three chemical plants in Belarus. Template analysis was used to analyse the data.

The findings of this study reveal ‘corporate greening’ as a boundary maker in the learning environment which produces three possible boundaries across values, agendas and priorities alignment. In their boundary work, Belarussian front-line managers employ three boundary objects – visionary, structural and market-related – constructed by post-Soviet socio-historical influences to facilitate learning by encouraging an affinity to the national identity and environment, developing shared infrastructure for discussion, but also facilitating a transition from a Soviet type of thinking to a post-Soviet mindset regarding recognising business opportunities for ‘green’ business practices. These include the practices for: working with other departments; constructing an image of themselves as educators; and ensuring that ‘green’ activities are sufficiently aligned with both the organisation's and the governmental view.

This study contributes to situated learning by showing that front-line managers use opportunities in the boundaries for further community growth by ‘re-purposing’ existing practices inherited from the Soviet Union, or creating new facilitation practices, to maintain ‘conversations’ around corporate greening. These findings also contribute to a better understanding of the practical challenges of front-line managers as facilitators of learning for corporate greening in the complex and interrelated socio-historical learning environment. In addition, the results of the study are valuable for managers who are looking to increase employee engagement in corporate greening.

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