Creating Ecological Value

Creating Ecological Value

An Evolutionary Approach to Business Strategies and the Natural Environment

Frank Boons

Firms adopt a wide variety of ecological strategies, ranging from the development of innovative products with reduced environmental impact to lobbying against governmental attempts to set standards for the way in which firms deal with the natural environment. This book explores this variety and is the first to provide a coherent evolutionary approach to the ecological strategies of firms.

Chapter 4: Elements of Strategic Perspectives and the Internal Dynamics of Firms

Frank Boons

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, strategic management, economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental management


In the preceding chapter we have seen that the changes in technology necessary to reduce ecological impact develop in interaction with networks of production and consumption. Firms play a central role in such networks and for this reason I will conceptualize their ecological strategies in terms that are compatible with this view. I will first present two dominant theoretical approaches to ecological strategies which together provide a basis for analysing such strategies. I then discuss four constituting elements of the strategic perspectives defined at the end of the last chapter. I will also discuss the internal dynamics of firms and the way they shape these elements. The chapter closes with core ideas and case studies illustrating each of the strategic perspectives. DOMINANT THEORETICAL APPROACHES DEALING WITH ECOLOGICAL STRATEGIES In Chapter 1 the themes of diversity and convergence in the ecological strategies of firms have been introduced. The two theoretical approaches to ecological strategies that are currently dominant in the literature tend to focus on either divergence or convergence. The first view of ecological strategies is based on a more generic theory of business strategy: the resource-based view. This theory builds on the seminal work of Edith Penrose who sought to find an explanation for the way in which firms expanded after the Second World War. In her theory the formation and further development of capabilities plays a central role. Each firm has a set of routines that is more or less unique and its development is shaped by these capabilities...

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