Environmental value chain in green SME networks: the threat of the Abilene paradox, Journal of Cleaner Production

Francesco Rizzi, Marco Frey, Francesco Testa, Andrea Appolloni 

Abstract: Demand-side policies are an important complement to subsidies in fostering green product/service markets. Green Public Procurement (GPP), in particular, presents valuable characteristics in terms of directionality, volumes and measurability. Despite being widely analysed from a public perspective, GPP development is still under-explored from a corporate point of view. To shed some light on the strategic attitude of firms towards GPP, this paper discusses an exploratory research in the field of road construction. An inductive analysis of direct observations and theoretical contributions suggests the potential for the so-called “Abilene paradox” to hamper GPP opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises. In fact, in times of crisis, increased pressures to improve performance and reduce risk, resistance to change and strategic myopia can easily impair inter-organizational interactions and thus prevent potentially innovative networks from pressuring public investments in green supply chains. The related policy suggestions represent a first attempt to enter the realm of systemic approaches to GPP.

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