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Institutional Pressures and Organizational Characteristics: Implications for Environmental Strategy

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Author Info

  • Magali A. Delmas

    ()
    (University of California, Los Angeles)

  • Michael W. Toffel

    ()
    (Harvard Business School, Technology and Operations Management Unit)

Abstract

A broad literature has emerged over the past decades demonstrating that firms' environmental strategies and practices are influenced by stakeholders and institutional pressures. Such findings are consistent with institutional sociology, which emphasizes the importance of regulatory, normative and cognitive factors in shaping firms' decisions to adopt specific organizational practices, above and beyond their technical efficiency. Similarly, institutional theory emphasizes legitimation processes and the tendency for institutionalized organizational structures and procedures to be taken for granted, regardless of their efficiency implications. However, the institutional perspective does not address the fundamental issue of business strategy necessary to explain the persistence of substantially different strategies among firms that are subjected to comparable levels of institutional pressures. In this chapter, we present current research arguing that such firms adopt heterogeneous sets of environmental management practices despite facing common institutional pressures because organizational characteristics lead managers to interpret these pressures differently.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard Business School in its series Harvard Business School Working Papers with number 11-050.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:11-050

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Cited by:
  1. Chonnikarn Fern Jira & Michael W. Toffel, 2011. "Engaging Supply Chains in Climate Change," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-026, Harvard Business School, revised Oct 2012.
  2. Anil R. Doshi & Glen W.S. Dowell & Michael W. Toffel, 2011. "How Firms Respond to Mandatory Information Disclosure," Harvard Business School Working Papers 12-001, Harvard Business School, revised Jun 2012.
  3. Christopher Marquis & Michael W. Toffel, 2011. "Scrutiny, Norms, and Selective Disclosure: A Global Study of Greenwashing," Harvard Business School Working Papers 11-115, Harvard Business School, revised Dec 2013.

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