Institutional Pressures and Organizational Characteristics: Implications for Environmental Strategy

29 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2010 Last revised: 15 Dec 2010

See all articles by Magali A. Delmas

Magali A. Delmas

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Michael W. Toffel

Harvard Business School

Date Written: November 18, 2010

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.

Suggested Citation

Delmas, Magali A. and Toffel, Michael W., Institutional Pressures and Organizational Characteristics: Implications for Environmental Strategy (November 18, 2010). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 11-050. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1711785 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1711785

Magali A. Delmas

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

Michael W. Toffel (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617.384.8043 (Phone)

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