Table of Contents

Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship

New Perspectives in Research on Corporate Sustainability series

Edited by Rolf Wüstenhagen, Jost Hamschmidt, Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik

In recent years our understanding of corporate sustainability has moved from exploitation to exploration, from corporate environmental management to sustainable entrepreneurship, and from efficiency to innovation. Yet current trends indicate the need for radical innovation via entrepreneurial start-ups or new ventures within existing corporations despite difficulties with the financing and marketing of such efforts. Presenting both conceptual and empirical research, this fascinating book addresses how we can combine environmental and social sustainability with economic sustainability in order to produce innovative new business models.

Chapter 8: The Relationship between High Performance Work Systems and Proactive Environmental Management

Inmaculada Martín-Tapia, J. Alberto Aragón-Correa and Rocío Llamas-Sánchez

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, management and sustainability, organisational innovation, social entrepreneurship, development studies, social entrepreneurship, environment, corporate social responsibility, environmental management, innovation and technology, organisational innovation, politics and public policy, social entrepreneurship


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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