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Stakeholders, the Environment and Society

Edited by Sanjay Sharma and Mark Starik

The role of stakeholders is integral to corporate sustainability as society increasingly demands that corporations play a role in achieving environmental objectives in addition to building shareholder wealth. In the first book to gather cutting-edge research on the interactions between stakeholders and organizations within the context of corporate sustainability, the contributors to this volume provide a diversity of perspectives from North America, Europe, and Oceania.
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Chapter 12: The Ecological Modernization of Organizational Fields: A Framework for Analysis

Renato J. Orsato


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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