A Study of the Motivations for the Environmental Transformation of Companies

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Industrial Marketing Management 34 (2005) 462 – 475

A study of the motivations for the environmental transformation of companies ´ Javier Gonzalez-Benito*, Oscar Gonzalez-Benito1 ´ ´
Dpto. Administracion y Economıa de la Empresa, Universidad de Salamanca, Campus Miguel de Unamuno, Edificio FES, 37007 Salamanca, Spain ´ ´ Received 18 February 2004; received in revised form 20 July 2004; accepted 27 August 2004 Available online 8 December 2004

Abstract This paper studies the relationship between the environmental motivations or beliefs prevailing in a company and the kind of environmental transformation the company is undertaking. In this sense, we distinguish four types of motivations: ethical, productive, commercial, and relational; and three areas where environmental transformation is typically conducted: the management system, the operations system, and the commercial system. The links between all these elements are analysed over a sample of 186 manufacturing companies from three industrial sectors. The results reveal that each environmental transformation responds to the presence or the predominance of certain motivations or environmental beliefs within the company. D 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Keywords: Environmental management; Environmental motivations

1. Introduction The commitment to the preservation of the natural environment has become a key force within the current competitive scenario, and this has stimulated many companies to initiate voluntary transformations to reach positions which are more in concordance with ecological ideals. This environmental proactivity, which can be manifested through a wide range of practices, is considered to have many different consequences. First, it can contribute to improving the environmental performance of the company, i.e., to reducing resource consumption and waste generation, thus mitigating the negative impact exerted on the natural environment. However, there are many other benefits which are attributed to environmental proactivity and which affect a company’s survival and success. The capability for stakeholder integration, the * Corresponding author. Tel.: +34 23 294400x3502; fax: +34 23 294715. E-mail addresses: javiergb@usal.es (J. Gonzalez-Benito)8 ´ oscargb@usal.es (O. Gonzalez-Benito). ´ 1 Tel.: +34 23 294400x3508; fax: +34 23 294715. 0019-8501/$ - see front matter D 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.indmarman.2004.08.005

capability for higher order learning and the capability for continuous innovation are some of them (Sharma & Vredenburg, 1998). This diversity of consequences leads us to think that there might be different motivations for entering environmental transformations within the company, motivations being understood, in a general sense, as the company beliefs about which effects and results the implementation of environmental management practices can and should have. On the other hand, environmental transformations can take diverse forms and directions, that is to say, environmental proactivity can be manifested through different combinations of practices, and not all the practices have the same features and potential effects. Some of them are easily perceivable by consumers and the social environment whereas others entail changes which are less visible. Some of them have the potential to enhance the environmental performance of the company whereas others set the base for it but do not directly affect such performance. Some of them are easy to implement whereas others require more significant efforts. In light of this, it makes sense to think that the type of environmental transformation developed by an organization,

´ J. Gonzalez-Benito, O Gonzalez-Benito / Industrial Marketing Management 34 (2005) 462–475 ´ ´

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that is, the set of environmental practices on which it puts its major emphasis, depends on the environmental motivations and beliefs prevailing within the organization. Thus, the...
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