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Management Learning and the Greening of SMEs: Moving beyond Problem-solving


  • Debbie Millard


Win-win and eco-efficiency approaches to environmental management that focus on cost benefits from environmental improvement in business have been widely promoted in recent years. However they have been criticized because they are of limited appeal to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and because they do not promote a broader programme of learning and change. Based on qualitative interviews with SMEs in the UK that have participated in a resource efficiency project, the paper aims to identify the conditions under which management learning is occurring, that triggers a process of on–going environmental improvement. The main indicators of management learning identified that lead to a process of learning and change were: cognitive and behaviour change; an approach that went beyond problem-solving; a culture of leadership and participation; a discontinuity that made resource efficiency a priority; a networked, open-minded leader.

Suggested Citation

  • Debbie Millard, 2011. "Management Learning and the Greening of SMEs: Moving beyond Problem-solving," Zeitschrift fuer Personalforschung. German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 25(2), pages 178-195.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:zfpers:doi_10.1688/1862-0000_zfp_2011_02_millard

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    Cited by:

    1. Luminița PISTOL & Rocsana BUCEA-MANEA-ȚONIȘ, 2014. "Model of Innovation through Information Network Sharing," International Conference on Economic Sciences and Business Administration, Spiru Haret University, vol. 1(1), pages 230-237, December.

    More about this item


    greening; resource efficiency; SMEs; learning;

    JEL classification:

    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development


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