Diffusing Management Practices within the Firm: The Role of Information Provision

37 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2008 Last revised: 11 Apr 2008

Michael Lenox

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Michael W. Toffel

Harvard Business School

Date Written: March 14, 2008

Abstract

A key role of corporate managers is to encourage subsidiaries to adopt innovative practices. This paper examines the conditions under which corporate managers use information provision to encourage subsidiaries' adoption of advanced management practices. Focusing on the distribution of expertise across subsidiaries, we propose that corporate managers elect an information provision strategy when (i) subsidiaries, on average, possess moderate levels of related expertise, (ii) subsidiaries exhibit significant heterogeneity in this expertise, and (iii) the subsidiaries are more diversified and less concentrated. We examine the efforts to diffuse pollution prevention practices exhibited by manufacturing firms in the information and communication technology sector in the United States, and find empirical support for the four hypotheses developed here. The research presented in this paper has implications for our understanding not only of who adopts advanced environmental management practices, but more broadly, of when firms adopt information provision strategies to encourage knowledge transfer within the organization.

Keywords: information provision, knowledge diffusion, environmental management, environmental strategy

Suggested Citation

Lenox, Michael and Toffel, Michael W., Diffusing Management Practices within the Firm: The Role of Information Provision (March 14, 2008). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Research Paper No. 08-085. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1107902 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1107902

Michael Lenox

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.darden.virginia.edu/LenoxM/index.htm

Michael W. Toffel (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617.384.8043 (Phone)

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