Application of EMSs in a hotel context: A case study

Siu Wa Eric Chan, Rebecca Hawkins

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


In the last decade, hotel companies have become increasingly interested in the application of environmental management systems (EMSs). However, research on the effectiveness of EMSs in the hotel industry has been sparse. This study aims to address this research gap by exploring and evaluating the application of EMSs in a hotel context. Various approaches to EMSs are identified in the literature on environmental management and EMSs, including six core EMS elements specific to the hotel industry context. To develop a rich and deep understanding of the application of EMSs in the hotel industry, a qualitative case study was conducted in which data were collected from three levels of employees, executive, supervisory and general, from an international hotel. A series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted and relevant documents were collected for analysis. Four influential factors were identified in the formation stage of the hotel's EMS: (1) Corporate governance, (2) Piloting activities, (3) Initial gap analysis and (4) Partnership with external consultancy. It was also found that the six elements identified in the environmental management literature play important roles in the implementation of EMS in this case. In addition, although EMSs can help promote a bottom-up approach to change, a top-down approach to implementing EMSs was more suitable for a hotel with a predominantly Chinese workforce, due to cultural issues. This study identified a number of factors specifically related to EMSs to complement mainstream environmental management research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-418
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • EMS
  • Environment
  • Formation
  • Hotel
  • Implementation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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