To read this content please select one of the options below:

Environmental management system adoption by government departments/agencies

Ambika Zutshi (Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Amrik S. Sohal (Faculty of Business & Economics, Monash University, Caulfield East, Australia)
Carol Adams (Faculty of Law and Management, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 11 July 2008




This paper seeks to examine the adoption of an environmental management system (EMS) in government departments involved in one Australian state and identify the key factors that contribute to successful adoption.


Data were collected through semi‐structured interviews conducted with environmental coordinators involved in the EMS adoption. The external consultant appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority who provided the training on behalf of the government departments was also interviewed.


The results from the analysis shows that environmental coordinators valued the training as it enhanced their knowledge and skills. They experienced a combination of both tangible and intangible benefits. The lack of contribution and support from top management; difficulty in accessing resources; and resistance from employees were the main challenges experienced during EMS implementation. Recommendations made by the interviewees included: providing training to top management to increase their understanding of the EMS process and its benefits; selection of the right champion; provision of adequate resources; and, training of employees.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are based on interviews conducted in only one Australian state and no follow up interviews could be undertaken to track the progress made by various departments.


The findings of this paper are original as no other similar study has been undertaken in this Australian state documenting the experiences of environmental coordinators when implementing an EMS. Our findings have practical implications for public sector organisations and government departments implementing EMS.



Zutshi, A., Sohal, A.S. and Adams, C. (2008), "Environmental management system adoption by government departments/agencies", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 5, pp. 525-539.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles