Environmental Attitudes and Practices Amongst Small Business Owner/Managers in the Western Australian Community Pharmacy Sector
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The process of moving businesses into a pattern of sustainable development has become a key feature in many economies. However, most work to date has focussed on the operations of large firms and multinational corporations. The role of small and medium-sized firms has often been overlooked, even though they are an essential part of that process. For example, it is estimated that SMEs may account for up to 70% of global pollution, yet management theorists have frequently underestimated their importance.The purpose of this study was to measure the current environmental attitudes of small business owner/managers in one particular industry, and to assess whether significant links exist between the espoused environmental attitudes of such owner/managers and the actual environmental performance of their firms. The study also sought to determine if a number of personal (predictor) variables identified in the literature (age, gender, and education level) could be used to identify small business owner/managers with a high level of environmental attitudes and performance. Finally, it also examined whether certain external variables (consumer demands, capital availability, firm size, time and information resources) have an impact on the translation of personal attitudes into business performance.Responses from the owner/managers of 156 retail pharmacies in Western Australia were used in the study. The results showed a high level of "green" attitudes amongst owners, but no statistically significant relationship between owner attitudes and their firm's actual performance. Only one demographic (predictor) factor, that of age, appears to be significantly associated with environmental attitudes. Three external factors were found to have a significant relationship with a small firm's level of environmental performance: the amount of time available for owners to undertake discretionary business activity; the number of owners working in the business; and the level of environmental information available to business owners.
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