30267315.pdf - Pereira-Moliner J Font X Molina-Azoru00edn...

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1Pereira-Moliner, J., Font, X, Molina-Azorín, J.; Lopez-Gamero, M.D.; Tarí, J.J. Pertusa-Ortega, E. (2015) The Holy Grail: Environmental management, competitive advantage and business performance in the Spanish hotel industry, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 27(5) 714 – 738. Abstract Purpose:This paper analyses the influence of environmental proactivity on cost and differentiation competitive advantages, and explores the double relationship between environmental proactivity and business performance. Design/methodology/approach:The population consists of all 3-to-5 star hotels in Spain. A sample of 350 hotels was classified according to environmental proactivity and performance levels employing a two-step cluster analysis. Significant differences between groups were examined. Findings:The results show two types of environmental behaviour (reactive and proactive), with proactive hotels developing significantly better on both cost and differentiation competitive advantage and achieving significantly higher performance levels. Hotels which achieve above average business performance levels are significantly more environmentally proactive. Practical implications:The present paper demonstrates that environmental management is related to competitive advantages and business performance. Environmental management systems are more developed in higher category, chain-affiliated, and larger hotels. This could be due to having more resources to develop their environmental capability. The environmental proactivity scale employed in this study is presented as a reference measure for hotel managers to benchmark their current practices and implement environmental improvements.
2Originality/value:First, measuring environmental proactivity using four managerial systems (operative, information, strategic and technical) is innovative and provides a more detailed approach to measuring environmental proactivity. Second, demonstrating a double association between environmental proactivity and performance provides fresh insights into the relationship between these variables. Keywords:Environmental proactivity, Cost competitive advantage, Differentiation competitive advantage, Business performance, Hotel industry, Cluster analysis, Spain Introduction The quest to demonstrate that environmental management improves business financial performance has been compared to the search for the Holy Grail (Kelly, 2004) on the grounds that it produces only inconclusive results (Margolis et al.,2007; Orlitzky, 2011), cannot explain under which conditions these variables are related, or, indeed, establish a causality (Vogel, 2005). Most studies analysing the relationship between environmental management and competitive advantage conclude that there is a positive and significant relationship. For example, environmental management allows firms to reduce costs (increasing efficiency and productivity) (Bohdanowicz, 2006; Bohdanowicz et al., 2011; Bonilla-Priego et al.,2011; Chan, 2009; Chan and Ho, 2006) and increase differentiation by improving reputation and

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