Acceptability of Operations
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Acceptability is a value-bound social concept applied commonly when referring to societal relationships between an organization and involved groups, i.e., judges that evaluate operations or actions of the unit. The acceptability of a matter reflects the values of a society at a certain point in time and place. A value refers to choices are which are (1) adopted from the surroundings, (2) considered in common, (3) permanent, and (4) concerned with the defined targets (Allardt 1983).
The other value-related feature is the matter of judgment. This entails the process that a judge evaluates the value-based matter and gives standards and criteria to the matter. Fredrick (1995) considered each person’s having personal values, which characterizes values as capable of expressing relative human diversity in social time and space.
Values tend to follow new social trends. The general substances of value characterize the concept giving the changing feature to the concept of acceptability. As a value, it is relatively permanent in nature, although value changes do occur for various reasons and can operate in different directions. Changes in social, cultural, demographic, economic, and technological factors can often be identified behind the value development (Karppinen 1998). The changing nature is one of the major limitations of the acceptability concept when standardizing organizational operations and process through the third-party judgment.
The acceptance is closely related to operations that interact closely with surrounding societies. Consequently, the concept of acceptability is used in practice when referring to societal relationships within socially sensitive sectors, such as natural resources-based sectors, sectors related to basic needs, like food, water, and energy, or other type necessities, or health care and medical sectors.
The concept of acceptability is used in practice when referring to societal relationships within socially sensitive sectors, for example, natural resources-based sectors. The consumers’ and/or stakeholder’ acceptance is perceived relevant for the successful business operations which is well reflected in the number of scientific researches since the early 2000s. For example, Mikkilä (2003) started to investigate the concept among practitioners within the pulp and paper industry in Finland in the later 1990s. The changing operation environment and active environmental debate surrounding the industry together with internal pressure to strengthen the quality of the production process lead to the employment of the concept when assessing future challenges related to the interaction of the industry with the society (Mikkilä 2006).
Acceptability of Natural Resource Related Operations
Mikkilä (2003) proposed the application of the acceptability of operations as an indicator of corporate social performance. Furthermore, Mikkilä (2005) provided empirical content for the acceptability of operations through a qualitative field study concluding that the acceptability of operations is an applicable indicator for corporate social performance. Mikkilä et al. (2005) tested further the indicator hypothesis by applying multi-attribute methods. Mikkilä (2006) concluded the acceptability of operations being a social value expressing a person’s or group’s expectations. Also, the societal debate is reflected in the acceptability characteristics. The concept of acceptability is a local and regional phenomenon based on the local and regional value base.
McGuire et al. (2017) studied social acceptability in establishing of forest-based biorefineries in Maine, USA, in order to understand general public and local perceptions of bioenergy industries in their establishment, success, and sustainability. Apollo et al. (2017) investigated the reduction of environmental degradation in the county as a result of artisan mining. The livelihood by the indigenous people may be considered generally acceptable operation. The work analyzed the feasibility and acceptability of community participation, technology, and management strategies on the reduction of environmental degradation in Taita Taveta County, Kenya.
Horta Nogueira et al. (2017) applied the concept of acceptability in reviewing the available works in the field of sustainable and integrated bioenergy, more precisely in the areas related to energy production and agricultural activity. The work outlined a supporting approach for supporting policymakers in taking decision process of deploying sustainable bioenergy systems in Latin America and Africa.
Acceptability of Food-Water-Energy Nexus
The acceptance is closely related to the basic needs-related sectors, such as food, water, and energy, or other type necessities that interact closely with surrounding populations. For example, Bouwer Utne (2008) discussed the performance of the Norwegian fishing fleet within an acceptable level of sustainability. The outcome was acceptance criteria of a sustainable Norwegian cod-fishing fleet to enable fisheries to monitor the sustainability performance of the fleet.
MacRitchie (2014) analyzed public’s views on acceptability of interventions to reduce Campylobacter in poultry production in the UK. Zungu et al. (2019) aim at providing nutritional recommendations in South Arica for undernourished populations by assessing the effect of Moringa oleifera leaf powder (MOLP) on the nutritional composition and consumer acceptability of the snack.
Availability and public acceptability of residential rainwater use in Sri Lanka was examined through a questionnaire survey indicating high acceptability of noncontact and non-intake uses, such as outdoor, toilet, and laundry uses (Takagi et al. 2019). Mirás-Avalosa et al. (2017) investigated the effect of irrigation on consumer acceptability of white wines comparing irrigated against rain-fed Albariño and Godello vines. Consumer acceptance was analyzed using descriptive and multivariate techniques.
Sustainable business models as an innovation strategy and the related consumer’ acceptance in the water sector was investigated by Sousa-Zomera and Cauchick Miguel (2018). The findings showed the space to strengthen consumers’ acceptance, risk perception, and confidence in decentralized approaches with the support of business models through the integration of customers. Westin et al. (2016) combined a stylized transport model of an urban road network with a model of the political process. The combined model incorporated interactions between voters, citizen interest groups, and politicians to explore the political acceptability for efficient transport policies.
On example of the application of acceptability in the energy sector comes from Dreyer et al.’s (2017) attitudes’ and behaviors’ assessment related to tidal energy. The study outcome that higher levels of perceived benefits and climate change beliefs were associated with increased acceptability of and support for tidal energy whereas greater perceived risks were associated with decreased acceptability and support. The conceptualization showed the characters of acceptability as an attitudinal construct, supporting a behavioral construct. Liu et al. (2019) compared the acceptability of renewable energy projects in the Netherlands and China. The work concluded the public acceptability being lowest when people had low trust in responsible agents and when people could only influence minor decisions regarding the project both in the Netherlands and China.
Acceptability Research Within Medical Sciences and Treatments
Health care and medical sectors are socially very sensitive areas of operations. Logically, the research field investigates largely the social acceptability of practices. The research has been significantly active in the late 2010s indicating the increasing popularity and applicability of the concept of acceptability in this context.
One of the newest works reviewed acceptability of financial incentives directed to patients for health-related behavior change (Hoskins et al. 2019). Burnett-Zeigler et al. (2019) studied the acceptability and feasibility of a mindfulness-based group intervention for socioeconomically disadvantaged women in an urban community health center with qualitative research techniques. Mock and Sethares (2019) tested concurrent validity and acceptability of the single item literacy screener, functional health literacy, and the newest vital sign in hospitalized adults with heart failure. Rush et al. determined feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of the inhibitory-control training for drug use disorder and contingency management.
Acceptability Within Quantitative Research and Performance Techniques
The concept of acceptability can be studied both quantitatively and qualitatively. For example, Gall and Rodwell (2016) considered the concept of social acceptability informative and relevant within the conservation of natural resources when applying Q methodology, a quantitative approach to reveal stakeholder perspectives, to assess social acceptance in the context of a marine protected area with fisheries and conservation management goals.
The concept of acceptability was applied also in evaluating performance appraisal techniques. An appraisal system has been judged traditionally according to its reliability and validity indexes, but recently the user acceptance has been considered critical to a system’s successful implementation (Hedge and Teachout 2000). Song et al. (2017) applied a stochastic multicriteria acceptability analysis to present a holistic measurement of the country-specific energy performance.
The acceptability of operations has been largely applied in various research fields when investigating involved people’s perceptions during the 2000s. The acceptability of operation relates closely with the concept of legitimacy and institutional behavior. The acceptability of operations refers commonly to the practical and operational use meanwhile the legitimacy has been applied widely by scholars. Acceptability of operations by the engaged groups, commonly stakeholders, provides a license to operate for an organization. This reflects the organizational behavior institutionalized by the Institutional organization theory (e.g., Powell and DiMaggio 1991) that the dimensions of the operation environment of an organization, such as social, economic, and political factors, build an institutional structure within which the actor engage specific types of activities.
Acceptability is a value-bound social concept being subject to acceptance for some purpose. The concept can be considered as a value that that changes in time and place. The changing nature is one of the major limitations, especially when assessing the acceptability of an issue, operation, process, protocol, etc. The issue judged acceptable yesterday, may get a different status today and tomorrow.
The acceptance is closely related to operations and procedures that interact closely with surrounding societies. Consequently, the concept of acceptability is used in practice when referring to societal relationships within socially sensitive sectors, such as natural resources-based sectors, sectors related to basic needs, like food, water, and energy, or other type necessities, or health care and medical sectors.
The research started to emerge in the early 2000s. The acceptability of operations has been largely applied in various research fields when investigating involved people’s perceptions. The concept has been studied both quantitatively, qualitatively, and with mixed methods. The number of scientific works has increased significantly towards the end of 2010s indicating the popularity and applicability of the concept both among scholars and practitioners.
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