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Moore, SA 2010, 'The effect of knowledge sharing on the environmental performance of proactive environmental organisations', PhD thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright SA Moore 2010


This research explored the relationship between overall knowledge sharing ability and environmental performance ability in organisations that had adopted an environmentally proactive strategy in relation to their organisation’s impact on the natural environment. The impact organisations have on the natural environment or their environmental performance has received increasing attention in the strategic management literature. The realisation that industry is negatively affecting the natural environment has led to increased government regulation and stakeholder pressures. In response to these increased pressures many organisations have begun to actively manage their relationship with the environment. Some organisations have taken a proactive environmental stance and have voluntarily improved environmental performance beyond the requirements of regulations. These organisations have made a decision to continually improve their environmental performance in order to minimise risk, use decreasing natural resources more efficiently, and respond to public concern for the environment. Environmental improvements require financial investments, organisational restructuring, and cultural change. Furthermore, after initial improvements such as increases in resource efficiency and recycling/reuse are implemented further improvements to environmental performance become more reliant on technological innovation.

Past research had found that the ability to effectively manage and share knowledge had a positive impact on organisational efficiency and innovation which led to increased financial performance. Past research had also found that knowledge management and knowledge sharing that focused on environmental knowledge in the organisation positively affected environmental performance. This research sought to examine if overall knowledge sharing ability could also have a positive on an organisation’s environmental performance.

The research design was an exploratory mixed methods design that utilised ex post facto field work combined with the case study method. A knowledge sharing effectiveness inventory was used to collect knowledge sharing data from proactive environmental organisations listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. Environmental performance data was collected from the organisation’s sustainability reports and consisted of quantitative measures of emissions and resource use. The main statistical analysis technique used for the research was multiple regression.

An individual case study was also conducted to assist in understanding the findings of the primary research model. The case study focused on one organisation listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. The case study consisted of a document review of relevant literature and a questionnaire distributed to managers in the North American section of the organisation.

The findings of the research indicate that although knowledge sharing may be an active consideration in improving environmental performance no relationship was found between overall knowledge sharing ability and environmental performance. This may in part have been related to different focuses on overall knowledge sharing and the sharing of environmental specific knowledge in the organisations studied. The results of the research in relation to past studies indicated that a focus on the sharing of specialised environmental knowledge rather than overall knowledge sharing may have a greater effect on environmental performance.