We recently presented a full paper at the British Academy of Management 2022 entitled: Exploring SMEs attitudes to Net Zero & social media:Action Case research as a force for good. Action case is a method designed to bridge the gap between understanding and change. We created a research team of academics and practitioners in conjunction with the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme to explore this important topic.
We aimed to address a research gap in SME understanding and attitudes to Net Zero and their communications. Our Action Case approach included a small-scale qualitative survey of SMEs and social network analysis of Twitter. We discovered a lack of clarity regarding the help available to SMEs and Net Zero. While the survey revealed some support for Net Zero from SMEs, it was unclear how this support corresponded with their social media strategy. The SNA revealed a dearth of SMEs in online discussions around Net Zero on Twitter. Government agencies and other organisations were dominant in these internet discussions. We also found SMEs opposed to government environmental programmes like clean air levies, which some saw as harmful to their operations. The Action Case method was demonstrated to be an effective method for bridging the academic-practice divide, and future research should build on this topic.