The impact of symbolic and substantive actions on environmental legitimacy
Drawing on institutional theory and insights from stakeholder theory and impression management, we empirically analyze the impact of both environmental symbolic polices (participation in voluntary environmental programs, green trademarks, environmental-dedicated board committees, environmental pay policies and community communication) and substantive actions (environmental patents and pollution prevention practices) on environmental legitimacy. We show that 1) symbolic actions have a weaker positive effect on legitimacy than substantive actions; 2) that the impact of symbolic actions is greater when they are combined with substantive actions, and 3) that this impact is only short-term while substantive actions have both short- and long-term effects.
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