New Perspectives in Research on Corporate Sustainability series
Edited by Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik
Chapter 10: Institutional Pressure and Environmental Management Practices
Magali A. Delmas and Michael W. Toﬀel INTRODUCTION Why do some ﬁrms adopt environmental management practices that go beyond regulatory compliance? Is the adoption of these practices driven by potential performance outcomes or by institutional pressures? Several articles have reported the ﬁndings of surveys that have asked ﬁrm managers what motivated them to adopt environmental practices (e.g., Florida and Davison 2001; Lawrence and Morell 1995). For example, Lawrence and Morell found that environmentally proactive ﬁrms were motivated by regulations, reducing costs, avoiding being targeted by environmental nongovernmental organizations, and critical events. Florida and Davison showed that facilities that have adopted environmental management systems (EMSs) are motivated by the bottom-line quest to increase productivity as well as by government regulation. However, these articles did not provide a clear understanding of the conditions under which these various pressures impact ﬁrm behavior. As others recently pointed out, ‘our understanding of factors that foster strong environmental management practices within a ﬁrm, particularly with operations at the plant level, still remains limited’ (Klassen 2001, p. 257). Some research has analyzed speciﬁc factors driving the adoption of environmental strategies such as competitive forces (Aragón-Correa 1998; Christmann 2000; Dean and Brown 1995; Hart 1995; Nehrt 1996; Nehrt 1998; Russo and Fouts 1997; Sharma and Vredenburg 1998), the inﬂuence of organizational context and design (Ramus and Steger 2000; Sharma 2000; Sharma, Pablo and Vredenburg 1999) and organizational learning (Marcus and Nichols 1999). Other analyses have focused on the individual or managerial level, examining the...
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