Environmental values in the petrochemical industry: A Q-method study in South West Iran.

Omid Ghoochani, Azadeh Bakhshi, Matthew Cotton, Azar Hashem Nehad, Mansour Ghanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Achieving sustainable development in different regional and cultural contexts is dependent, in part, upon an understanding of
key actors’ underlying environmental, social and economic values. The social research technique called Q-methodology
presents an effective means to explore such values as a matter of discourse: revealing the typologies of stakeholder
perspectives within a given debate. Q-method involves factor analysis of participant rank-ordered preselected statements on
a topic. The resultant factors are then reinterpreted as social discourses. In this study we use Q-methodology to explore the
environmental values of Health Safety and Environmental (HSE) managers in petrochemical companies in Khuzestan
province in southwest Iran. Khuzestan is a key region of petrochemical product development, with significant associated
environmental pollution effects. Understanding HSE managers’ attitudes to environmental protection is of value in predicting
broader environmental impacts to the region, given the relative importance of their role in regulating the environmental
performance of this industry. Our results reveal four distinct and varied perspectives on environmental protection labelled:
‘Environmental stewardship’, ‘Environmental presentism’, ‘Technological optimism’ and ‘Enlightened anthropocentrism’. We
then discuss how these four emergent perspectives correspond to broader environmental discourses as categorized by John
Dryzek: i.e. green rationalism, economic rationalism, prometheanism and ecological modernization respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental and Socio-Economic Studies
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2016

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