The use and effectiveness of environmental management practices in Australia
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 10:59 authored by Thanh Nguyet Phan
This thesis examines the use of specific environmental management practices by Australian organisations, including Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) and Environmental Management Accounting (EMA), operationalised in respect to the use of physical and monetary components and Environmental Activity Management as a specific tool of EMA. In addition, the thesis investigates the influence of contingency factors on the use of these practices, and the association between the extent of use of such practices and environmental performance. Data were collected by mail survey questionnaire from a random sample of 208 senior managers in Australian organisations across different industries. The thesis adopts the 'thesis by publication' format and consists of three academic papers. Paper One examines the influence of institutional pressures (coercive, mimetic and normative) on the comprehensiveness of EMSs, and the impact of EMS comprehensiveness on environmental performance. The findings indicate that both coercive and normative pressures influence the comprehensiveness of EMSs. In addition, organisations with more comprehensive EMSs were found to experience higher levels of all four dimensions of environmental performance (resource usage, regulatory compliance, productivity, and stakeholder interaction). Paper Two examines the extent of use of both physical and monetary components of EMA and the influence of the comprehensiveness of the EMS, size, and top management support, on the use of EMA. In addition, the paper investigates the impact of EMA use on environmental performance. The results indicate a moderate extent of physical EMA use, and a low extent of monetary EMA use. The comprehensiveness of the EMS and top management support were found to influence the use of EMA. In addition, the results revealed that the extent of use of physical EMA was associated with one dimension of environmental performance (stakeholder interaction), while the extent of use of monetary EMA was associated with all four dimensions of environmental performance (resource usage, regulatory compliance, productivity, and stakeholder interaction). Paper Three provides an insight into the application of Environmental Activity Management utilising Gosselin's (1997) three levels of Activity Management (namely, Environmental Activity Analysis (EAA), Environmental Activity Cost Analysis (EACA), and Environmental Activity Based Costing (EABC)). The paper also examines the association between Environmental Activity Management and environmental performance, and the role of decision quality as a mediator in this relationship. The results indicate a relatively high extent of EAA use but a low extent of use of EACA and EABC. Organisations using each level of Environmental Activity Management to a greater extent were found to experience higher levels of environmental performance, while the relationship between EAA and EABC with environmental performance was found to be mediated by decision quality. The thesis contributes to the limited empirical evidence concerning the extent of use of environmental management practices, and the effectiveness of such practices in terms of improving environmental performance. The findings highlight the importance of enhancing the comprehensiveness of EMSs, the extent of use of physical and monetary EMA, and the extent of use of different levels of Environmental Activity Management, as a means of improving the environmental performance of organisations. In addition, given the importance of such practices in enhancing environmental performance, the study further contributes to the literature by providing an insight into the contingency factors that organisations should focus on in order to enhance the extent of use of EMSs and EMA.