New Perspectives in Research on Corporate Sustainability series
Edited by Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik
Chapter 12: The Ecological Modernization of Organizational Fields: A Framework for Analysis
12. The ecological modernization of organizational ﬁelds: a framework for analysis Renato J. Orsato1 INTRODUCTION The Organizations and the Natural Environment (ONE) literature has generically labeled stakeholders as any individuals or organizations capable of inﬂuencing a focal organization (see, for instance Bansal and Roth 2000; Scott and Lane 2000). Indeed, a multiplicity of variables, ranging from the structure of the industry and characteristics of the market, to the geographic location of industrial facilities, inﬂuences the deﬁnition of stakeholders. This results in a concept that is very indistinct and of limited relevance for theorization or practice. In other words, the indistinctiveness of the stakeholder approach provides little help for those trying to understand the reluctance of ﬁrms to invest in environmental protection, as well as for normative actions towards a more proactive behavior. Moreover, because stakeholders’ inﬂuence on the greening of organizations has a contingent character, their identiﬁcation needs to be complemented by the scrutiny of the dynamics between them. The specialized literature also tends to focus on the (positive) inﬂuence stakeholders exert on organizational change towards more ecologically sustainable industries and societies. Reviews such as the ones of Berry and Rondinelli (1998) and Bonifant et al. (1995) focus mainly on external stakeholders, such as consumers, governments and competitors, which have the potential to foster the internalization of ecological issues into organizational strategies and practices. Less emphasis, however, has been given to the inhibiting character of contingent stakeholder action. The availability of cleaner technologies, for...
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