Impacts of changes to business travel practices in response to the COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand

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Becken, S
Hughey, KF
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2021
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Abstract

Air travel forms a substantial component of an organisation’s carbon profile, and questions around business travel are becoming more pertinent given the accelerating climate crisis. The current coronavirus pandemic, however, has effectively stopped much travel and organisations had to adapt by switching most interactions to online meetings. Drawing on social practice theory, this paper examines changes in staff air travel behaviour observed in a New Zealand government agency, following the nationwide lockdown in 2020. Integrating air travel data, a staff wellbeing survey and 18 interviews, the research reveals fundamental differences in the meaning of face-to-face versus online meetings, the inseparable nature of productivity and personal wellbeing, and the change processes that staff noted when faced with a (temporary) new reality of restricted mobility. Whether modified routines remain or not will not only be influenced by the government’s imposed carbon budgets, but also will be a question of organisational leadership, politics, and ultimately the ethics of trading off environmental impacts with other perceived needs.

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Journal of Sustainable Tourism

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This publication has been entered in Griffith Research Online as an advanced online version.

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Strategy, management and organisational behaviour

Human geography

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Becken, S; Hughey, KF, Impacts of changes to business travel practices in response to the COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 2021

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