A University of Otago marketing tutor has devised a management model aimed at a more sustainable future.
Dr Rob Mitchell created the model for his recently completed PhD thesis on sustainable market orientation, which he evaluated in the context of conservation and tourism management.
Mitchell says the model provides guidelines that enable organisations to take a holistic approach to strategy management – one that blends economic growth and continuing prosperity with environmental and social responsibility.
“I sought to integrate two conflicting concepts: market orientation, regarding the profitable management of consumption, and sustainable development, which has been promoted by the United Nations.”
Mitchell applied the model to three tourism industry case studies: two competing tourism firms (Real Journeys and Southern Discoveries) and one government agency (the Department of Conservation) operating in the Fiordland National Park. He interviewed more than 40 people, both inside the three organisations and in the wider community.
“I chose the tourism industry to evaluate the model because it is important globally and, in New Zealand, it generates about 50 per cent of our overseas income. Long term, the industry’s viability depends on balanced economic, environmental and social management.”
Mitchell adds that his thesis identifies the shortcomings in the Government’s tourism strategy and recommends that it needs to be made more holistic. “The strategy just looks at economic and environmental aspects and doesn’t look at the social side of things.”
Mitchell has written several journal articles on the subject and is looking to evaluate the model in other commercial sectors.