توسعه پایدار به عنوان فرهنگ شرکت های بزرگ یک نام تجاری (برند) برای عملکرد برتر
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1976||2012||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of World Business, Available online 27 July 2012
Sustainability research highlights new challenges and opportunities for businesses. This paper reviews the literature to understand the ability of sustainable green initiatives when practiced as a corporate culture to individually create new opportunities for operations, management and marketing. According to current research, business opportunities exclusively available to different functions of a firm can drive its performance. The role of marketing in the achievement of superior performance by virtue of sustainability practices is also explained by the existing literature. Branding literature, however, fails to explain the influence of a brand on sustainability-driven opportunities available to a firm for superior performance. The objective of this study is to explore if a brand can strengthen the ability of sustainability-based green initiatives of managers to drive opportunities available to a firm for superior performance. A conceptual framework grounded in the triple bottom line theory is presented based on the assumption that brand as a stimulating factor can accelerate the conversion of opportunities available to a business into superior performance. Academic and managerial perspectives have been used to draw upon the implications of the model. Both practitioners and academic researchers will benefit from future research on this topic.
Academics and practitioners have reviewed sustainability from various perspectives (Fuchs and Lorek, 2005, Olson et al., 2003 and Sheth et al., 2011). Academics acknowledge sustainability as an approach that is adopted to meet current requirements while developing capabilities that can help focus on the future (Chabowski, Mena, & Gonzalez-Padron, 2011). The concept incorporates three dimensions and the academic literature explains these dimensions as economic, social and environmental (Elkington, 1998 and Funk, 2003). Business researchers indicate the economic dimension of sustainability as the most desirable because it provides financial strength and avoids conditions leading to an early demise of the business due to financial reasons (Bansal and Roth, 2000 and Szekely and Knirsch, 2005). The marketing literature discusses sustainability and highlights its role in creating opportunities and driving firm performance by taking up social initiatives understood as corporate social responsibility (Chabowski et al., 2011 and Peloza and Shang, 2011). The role of operations in making a business perform on the parameter of sustainability has been discussed as a determinant of a firm's ability to produce or deliver efficiently (Dao, Langella, & Carbo, 2011). According to business researchers, a company can perform better when its activities are performed taking account of all three dimensions of sustainability (Chabowski et al., 2011). Firms try to create a balance among these three dimensions of sustainability to secure a safer future for their business (Cronin, Smith, Gleim, Ramirez, & Martinez, 2011). Often, the approach adopted by management for improving future performance is to create opportunities of successful delivery (Ramani & Kumar, 2008). From the perspective of opportunity creation, academic researchers, until now, have considered the dimensions of sustainability based on practices internal to the organisation in an individual format of either planning, production, business ethics or environmental management but not in an integrated format (Amit and Zott, 2001, Charter and Clark, 2008 and Menon and Menon, 1997). Adoption of green practices by a business requires managers to concentrate on their internal sustainable practices individually as well as in an integrated format (Drongelen, Nixon, & Pearson, 2000). While integration of various actions of the organisation creates opportunities and drives superior performance, it may lead to non-green practices (Menon & Menon, 1997). Sustainability, however, seeks to achieve this success through integration without exploiting natural resources and effectively considering the requirements of green initiatives (Baharum and Pitt, 2009 and Dao et al., 2011). Hence, it is important for managers to comprehend and reflect on future business performance of the non-green practices taken by them to perform various organisational functions (Baharum & Pitt, 2009). The effectiveness of sustainability-based green initiatives of marketing can be assessed from the ability of the firm to capture available opportunities by creating a differentiation for improving its future performance (Bose & Luo, 2011). The primary role of marketing in business is to understand and fulfil the needs of customers (Kohli & Jaworski, 1990). Today, customers recognise the roles, responsibilities and actions businesses have towards the health of the ecological environment in which businesses interact and operate (Rondinelli & Berry, 2000). From a sustainability perspective, managing differentiation in dynamic market conditions requires companies to continue to educate and persuade their customers about the initiatives they take for the welfare of society at large (Bridges & Wilhelm, 2008). Brands as intangible assets of the company act as a tool to be used by managers for implementing marketing techniques that are useful for informing and educating customers (Day, 2011). Every company uses marketing techniques to communicate about its green initiatives to customers with intent to explain and highlight its contribution to the overall ecological health of society (Drumwright, 1994). Similarity in the messages received from companies makes it very hard for customers to differentiate between companies based on their green initiatives (Crittenden, Crittenden, Ferrell, Ferrell, & Pinney, 2011). The branding literature indicates that brand communications improve brand-customer association (Rust, Ambler, Carpenter, Kumar, & Srivastava, 2004). Sustainability-based brand knowledge drives customers favourably towards the brand and improves the long term performance of the firm. The marketing literature on brand management reflects on the ability of a strong brand to integrate all the organisational activities and lead the company towards success (Achrol and Kotler, 1999 and Amit and Schoemaker, 1993). Authors have underpinned the concept of a strong brand into the notion of familiarity that according to the marketing literature has the ability to drive customer beliefs about the value the brand contributes or the differentiation it creates to allow managers to overcome the consequences of low levels of trust that customers may have in the company (Chernatony and Drury, 2006 and Kent and Allen, 1994). Not much theory is available to practitioners for explaining the ability of the brand to address the sustainability issues faced by a firm. We address this gap in research by developing sustainability-driven green initiatives as a construct that is embedded into the fundamental practices of the organisation, i.e., as a corporate culture, and the ability of this construct to provide opportunities for three prime functions of an organisation – management, marketing and operations that supplement the future performance of the firm (Piercy, 2009). The core of our understanding is the role played by a brand. Hence, we assume two business-centric relationships: (1) opportunities created by green initiatives as corporate culture, which are in the form of economic development, social wellbeing and environmental protection as three dimensions of sustainability; and (2) the ability of the brand to strengthen the influence of green initiatives as marketing, management and operational opportunities on the performance of a business. We use the triple bottom line theory of Elkington (1998) as the underlying theoretical foundation of sustainability for developing the constructs and conceptualising the relationships between constructs in the form of a framework. The purpose of the framework is to enable future researchers to explore the influence of their brand on the outcomes of green initiatives in terms of business performance. The research propositions represented graphically by the framework support brand-oriented sustainability research. We have used product recycling through retailers to discuss green initiatives adopted by international brands and to explain the propositions and highlight managerial implications and recommendations for adoption of the framework.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper has created a research agenda for sustainability and branding researchers in the business domain. Past research on sustainability has evaluated the role played by the approach of sustainability in driving green initiatives adopted by firm managers and the ability of opportunities created from the firm as a result of these initiatives to drive superior performance. Marketing researchers have failed to identify the role played by a brand in making the causal effect of opportunities on business performance stronger. Future research on this topic should identify specific variables that operate within the constructs and empirically test the framework conceptualised developed from a synthesis of existing knowledge from different domains. For the purpose of generalisation, the current research topic as reflected by the propositions made is very broad and we recommend that future researchers should further refine the topic using qualitative data before initiating a quantitative research. The sustainability-based green initiatives of an industrial brand sold through retailers can create numerous opportunities for the organisation. Retailers enable the brand to trace every product sold to its consumers. The recycling of products becomes easier for a firm when they are either returned to retailers by customers or offered to customers by retailers with a brand name. Product sales information when available to marketing managers facilitates the success of brand loyalty programmes by encouraging existing users to return old products and buy new products. The used products returned by consumers to retailers create opportunities for refurbishment by the operations team, which makes used products ready to be sold to another set of customers who are keen to buy branded second-hand products at a low cost. Firms that sell their products through retailer networks use brands to communicate their messages to consumers and develop brand associations for developing loyal customers (Peppard & Rylander, 2006). Consumers gain confidence in the products or services offered by the brands based on what they understand as the value that the brand contributes to their lives (Fournier, 1998). Despite this, recent research on ‘green’ washing argues that there is no effect or influence of symbolic actions such as green washing on the performance of a firm from a financial perspective (Walker & Wan, in press). Research on competitive markets highlights the relationship between understanding of the brand by the retailer and the important role that such an understanding plays in driving purchase decisions made by consumers (Gupta, Melewar, & Bourlakis, 2010). While the objective of retailers is to earn profits from the sale of branded products and so they do not pay attention to the emotional aspects of brand communications (Gupta et al., 2010 and Webster, 1992), consumers use brand communications to understand the strength of a brand to differentiate it from competing brands (Kent & Allen, 1994). Because of the rational orientation of retailers’ business interests, it becomes a challenge for managers to encourage retailers to participate in the green initiatives of the firm (Maignan & McAlister, 2003). Brands can use their strong associations with consumers to recycle products at various stages of their life cycle (Kent & Allen, 1994). Recycling products at different stages in the consumer segment requires a strong brand with which not only consumers but also retailers have a desire to be associated. Recycling of products reflects on the substantive value contributed by the firm for retailers and the symbolic value for the consumers and creates many marketing opportunities to identify customers who are ready to buy recycled, low cost products (Walker & Wan, in press). When recycled products are supported by a strong brand name, their selling becomes easier for the retailer as the level of consumer confidence in the recycled products is high. Easy selling attracts retailers as it creates a faster exit of recycled products from their warehouse with faster generation of revenue.