In what is essentially a policy-relevant thesis, this study concerns the process of developing a conceptual framework for the reduction of greenwash in the greening of environmentally proactive organisations. The subject is approached by examining the development of green expressions in a range of business organisations. These are green strategies carried out within, or external to, the organisation. The purpose of this approach was to examine enabling and resisting forces for environmental policy implementation and, in so doing, assist management in the understanding of how green strategies enable or inhibit the development of greenwash in an organisational greening process. As part of this investigation, a more precise understanding of the term ‘greenwash’ was facilitated. In this context, four research questions were generated from the literature review to assist in the understanding of organisational greening. The first question investigated the ways in which organisations seek to express a green image. This assisted in more meaningfully circumscribing green expressions in the context of the study. The second research question focused on how organisations are differentiated, based on the extent and type of their green expressions. This gave depth to the issue of green expressions enabling an understanding of which green expressions helped define organisational type with respect to the greening process. The third research question examined the issue of how green processes and actions are supported throughout the organisation by policy and practice. The research data helped to highlight the importance of communication and leadership or knowledge transfer issues. The final research question related green expressions and performance derived from them. An appropriate method to gain traction over these questions, which were, in turn, expressed as propositions, was to carry out in-depth, semi-structured interviews with two participants from ten different organisations at the strategic level and across a range of market sectors. The key findings suggested that an organisation’s architecture or infrastructure can be a key facilitator or inhibitor of green strategy development. In this context, managers can have a greater incentive to balance internal and external green expressions to avoid a greenwashing charge. Leadership, through greening champions, specifically individuals in very senior positions, has a major influence on the pace of a greening process. Organisational structures and organisational size, in turn, can facilitate or impede communication flow and knowledge transfer on greening issues. Finally, the data suggested that internal green expressions can, over the longer-term, precipitate tangible performance benefits.
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