Keywords: environmental management, corporate strategy, survey, operations management, implementation of strategy, determinants of strategy, gap analysis
Seeking congruence in implementing corporate environmental strategy
A major challenge facing all organisations is to implement corporate strategy successfully. This is true especially of strategies which reflect the increasingly diverse demands placed upon modern organisations, such as those towards the environment, or more generally concerned with corporate responsibility. A general problem faced by more ethically based strategies is that while they increasingly appear vital to the effective operation of an organisation, they are not always regarded as a first order concern by managers charged with their implementation, and faced with competing priorities. This paper attempts to highlight potential causes for failed implementation of environmental strategy by reference to the findings of a recent survey of environmental policy and practice among major UK organisations. The findings suggest that very often business decision makers do not take into consideration the true extent of the difficulties associated with implementing environmental policies, and in particular do not make the necessary objective appraisal of the resources necessary. Additionally, the authors hypothesise that decision makers do not provide the ongoing support necessary for ethically oriented policies to overcome competing priorities within an organisation, leaving operational managers with little choice but to pursue day-to-day objectives like efficiency and effectiveness, at the expense of the longer term gains that a fully integrated environmental strategy may provide.