New Perspectives in Research on Corporate Sustainability series
Edited by Rolf Wüstenhagen, Jost Hamschmidt, Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik
Chapter 8: The Relationship between High Performance Work Systems and Proactive Environmental Management
Inmaculada Martín-Tapia, J. Alberto AragónCorrea and Rocío Llamas-Sánchez1 Firms can play a role in the improvement of the serious imbalances that humans cause to the world’s natural cycles (Shrivastava, 1995a) by implementing proactive environmental management.2 For this to happen, they must develop environmental strategies that go beyond mere regulatory compliance (Aragón-Correa, 1998). Early literature on ﬁrms and environmental management highlighted the positive role of technology (Shrivastava, 1995b) and the possible negative eﬀect of proactive environmental management on ﬁnancial proﬁtability (for example, Walley and Whitehead, 1994). The resource-based view (RBV), however, suggested that proactive policies might actually improve ﬁrm proﬁtability (for example, Hart, 1995; Russo and Fouts, 1997; Marcus and Geﬀen, 1998; Aragón-Correa and Sharma, 2003), but only if the ﬁrm developed internal environment-related capabilities such as employee participation and involvement (for example, Hart, 1995; Wehrmeyer, 1996; Sharma and Vredenburg, 1998; Klassen and Whybark, 1999; Marcus and Nichols, 1999; Bansal, 2005). Despite the view that these internally generated capabilities are important, few works have speciﬁcally analysed them. Ramus and Steger (2000) concluded that certain organizational practices such as intensive training, communication facilitation and participation, and rewarding and acknowledging workers’ good performance can generate environmental improvement. Similarly, Egri and Herman (2000) showed that organizations concerned about the environment must have ﬂexible structures, be open to the outside world, and be orientated towards employee values. But few other studies have actually speciﬁed organizational practices that are related to environmental change and...
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