Encyclopedia of Sustainable Management

Living Edition
| Editors: Samuel Idowu, René Schmidpeter, Nicholas Capaldi, Liangrong Zu, Mara Del Baldo, Rute Abreu

Acceptability of Operations

  • Mirja MikkiläEmail author
  • Katariina Koistinen
  • Anna Kuokkanen
  • Lassi Linnanen
  • Jarkko Levänen
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-02006-4_437-1
  • 62 Downloads

Synonyms

Definition

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.

Introduction

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.

Conceptual Framework

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.

Summary

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.

Cross-References

References

  1. Allardt, E. (1983). Sosiologia I. WSOY, Juva, p. 278.Google Scholar
  2. Apollo, F., Ndinya, A., Ogada, M., & Rop, B. (2017). Feasibility and acceptability of environmental management strategies among artisan miners in Taita Taveta County, Kenya. Journal of Sustainable Mining, 16(4), 189–195.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsm.2017.12.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bouwer Utne, I. (2008). Acceptable sustainability in the fishing fleet. Marine Policy, 32(3), 475–482.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2007.09.017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burnett-Zeigler, I., Satyshur, M. D., Hong, S., Wisner, K. L., & Moskowitz, J. (2019). Acceptability of a mindfulness intervention for depressive symptoms among African-American women in a community health center: A qualitative study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 45, 19–24.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2019.05.012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dreyer, S. J., Polis, H. J., & Jenkins, L. D. (2017). Changing tides: Acceptability, support, and perceptions of tidal energy in the United States. Energy Research & Social Science, 29, 72–83.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.04.013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fredrick, W. C. (1995). Values, nature, and culture in the American corporation (p. 313). New York/Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Gall, S. C., & Rodwell, L. D. (2016). Evaluating the social acceptability of marine protected areas. Marine Policy, 65, 30–38.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2015.12.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hedge, J. W., & Teachout, M. S. (2000). Exploring the concept of acceptability as a criterion for evaluating performance measures. Group & Organization Management, 25(1), 22–44.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601100251003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Horta Nogueira, L. A., de Souza, L. G. A., Barbosa Cortez, L. A., & Lima Verde Leal, M. R. (2017). Sustainable and Integrated Bioenergy Assessment for Latin America, Caribbean and Africa (SIByl-LACAf): The path from feasibility to acceptability. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 76, 292–308.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2017.01.163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hoskins, K., Ulrich, C. M., Shinnick, J., & Buttenheima, A. M. (2019). Acceptability of financial incentives for health-related behavior change: An updated systematic review. Preventive Medicine, 126, 105762.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.105762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Karppinen, H. (1998). Values and objectives of non-industrial private forest owners in Finland. Silva Fennica, 32(1), 43–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Liu, L., Bouman, T., Perlaviciute, G., & Steg, L. (2019). Effects of trust and public participation on acceptability of renewable energy projects in the Netherlands and China. Energy Research & Social Science, 53, 137–144.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.03.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. MacRitchie, L. A., Hunter, C. J., & Strachana, N. J. C. (2014). Consumer acceptability of interventions to reduce Campylobacter in the poultry food chain. Food Control, 35(1), 260–266.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2013.06.005.
  14. McGuire, J. B., Leahy, J. E., Marciano, J. A., Lilieholm, R. J., & Teisl, M. F. (2017). Social acceptability of establishing forest-based biorefineries in Maine, United States. Biomass and Bioenergy, 105, 155–163.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2017.06.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mikkilä, M. (2003). Acceptability of operations as an indicator of corporate social performance. Business Ethics: A European Review, 12(1), 78–87.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8608.00307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mikkilä, M. (2005). Observing corporate social performance empirically through the acceptability concept: A global study. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 12, 183–196.  https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mikkilä, M. (2006). The many faces of responsibility: Acceptability of the global pulp and paper industry in various societies. Dissertationes Forestales, 25.  https://doi.org/10.14214/df.25.
  18. Mikkilä, M., Kolehmainen, O., & Pukkala, T. (2005). Multi-attribute assessment of acceptability of operations in the pulp and paper industries. Forest Policy and Economics, 7, 227–243.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1389-9341(03)00062-6.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1389-9341(03)00062-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mirás-Avalosa, J. M., Fandiño, M., Trigo-Córdoba, E., Rey, B. J., Orriols, I., & Cancel, J. J. (2017). Influence of irrigation on consumer acceptability of Albariño and Godello wines. LWT – Food Science and Technology, 85(B), 345–352.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2017.01.076.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mock, M. S., & Sethares, K. A. (2019). Concurrent validity and acceptability of health literacy measures of adults hospitalized with heart failure. Applied Nursing Research, 46, 50–56.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apnr.2019.02.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Powell, W. W., & DiMaggio, P. J. (1991). The new institutionalism in organizational analysis (p. 478). Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Song, L., Fu, Y., Zhou, P., & Keung Lai, K. (2017). Measuring national energy performance via Energy Trilemma Index: A stochastic multicriteria acceptability analysis. Energy Economics, 66, 313–319.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2017.07.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sousa-Zomera, T. T., & Cauchick Miguel, P. A. (2018). Sustainable business models as an innovation strategy in the water sector: An empirical investigation of a sustainable product-service system. Journal of Cleaner Production, 171, S119–S129.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.07.063.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Takagi, K., Otaki, M., Otaki, Y., & Chaminda, T. (2019). Availability and public acceptability of residential rainwater use in Sri Lanka. Journal of Cleaner Production, 234, 467–476.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.06.263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Westin, J., Franklin, J. P., Proost, S., Basck, P., & Raux, C. (2016). Achieving political acceptability for new transport infrastructure in congested urban regions. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 88, 286–303.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2016.04.009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Zungu, N., van Onselena, A., Kolanisi, U., & Siwela, M. (2020). Assessing the nutritional composition and consumer acceptability of Moringa oleifera leaf powder (MOLP)-based snacks for improving food and nutrition security of children. South African Journal of Botany, 129, 283–290.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sajb.2019.07.048.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mirja Mikkilä
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katariina Koistinen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anna Kuokkanen
    • 1
  • Lassi Linnanen
    • 1
  • Jarkko Levänen
    • 1
  1. 1.Sustainability ScienceLUT UniversityLappeenrantaFinland
  2. 2.Management and OrganizationUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Arto O. Salonen
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Social Sciences and Business StudiesUniversity of Eastern Finland