The Rise of “Environmental Sustainability Knowledge” in Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship: An IT-Enabled Knowledge-Based View of Tourism Operators

The Rise of “Environmental Sustainability Knowledge” in Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship: An IT-Enabled Knowledge-Based View of Tourism Operators

Jean Marie Ip-Soo-Ching (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia) and Suzanne Zyngier (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4753-4.ch002
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This chapter articulates a conceptual framework to analyse the management of environmental sustainability knowledge in tourism that is underpinned by both the knowledge-based view of the firm (Grant, 1996; Spender, 1996) and the KM Life Cycle (Liebowitz & Beckman, 1998; Salisbury, 2012). This deliberate management of knowledge enables NTOs to build a knowledge-base about the natural environment and to use that knowledge for environmental sustainability, business sustainability, and local community education. Ten NTOs in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam were investigated to analyse their KM of environmental sustainability. In supporting the knowledge-based view and KM of environmental sustainability knowledge, a further conceptual framework is also advanced for the analysis of how Information Technology enables environmental sustainability knowledge to be created, captured, shared, and applied at NTOs among their staff, customers, and communities.
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Environmental sustainability has increasingly become a major focus for research in the past two decades in the context of depleting resources, increasing energy costs, increased levels of pollutions, and damages to the natural environment (EPA 2007). These problems will affect humanity in the 21st century and beyond with more severity than in previous centuries (IPCC 2007). Extreme risks such as natural disasters, economic disasters, environmental degradations and social unrests appear highly likely as a result of environmental problems (Stern 2007). Research in environmental sustainability is being conducted by science and technology at an increasingly pace to find solutions to protect and maintain the quality of the natural environment (Dupont Global Collaboratory 2011). The business and IT disciplines are also conducting research in environmental sustainability because businesses need to be environmentally focused in their growths and successes (Porter and Reinhardt 2007). Environmental sustainability has emerged as a strategic objective for governments and industries in the 21st century (IPCC 2007; Stern 2007), yet little is known about the management of environmental sustainability knowledge. This research investigates environmental sustainability knowledge using an integration approach of Environmental Sustainability and Knowledge Management supported by IT conducted among Nature-Based Tourism Operators because they depend on the ongoing quality of the natural environment for their existence and success. This research develops a definition, theory, and knowledge management tools to study environmental sustainability knowledge.

The chapter is organised as follows. We discuss the dependence of Nature-Based Tourism Operators on the natural environment for ongoing success and their Knowledge-Based view of Environmental Sustainability. A discussion follows of the Knowledge Management Life Cycle of Environmental Sustainability Knowledge and the role of Information Communication Technology in Environmental Sustainability Knowledge. There follows discussion of modes of staff, customer and public learning about Environmental Sustainability Knowledge. Finally conclusions are drawn for theory and for practice.

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