Environmental Reputation: Attribution from Distinct Environmental Strategies
- 50 Downloads
How do firms risk their environmental reputation by ignoring environmentally detrimental practices? Although there is a heightened emphasis on establishing a favorable environmental reputation, the mechanism connecting firm strategies to reputational outcomes is largely understudied. Firms can pursue distinct environmental management (EM) strategies comprising proactive beyond-compliance voluntary activities (EM strengths) and/or addressing compliance-only detrimental environmental activities (EM concerns). With the capability of selective dissemination of information on their environmental pursuits, the choice of strategy and the mechanisms affecting perception for reputational gains needs further exploration. By applying attribution theory, this paper develops a novel perspective to explain the impact from distinct strategies of pursuing EM strengths and/or addressing EM concerns. Utilizing 2 years of data from the top 500 green ranked U.S. firms, the findings support a negative impact from the attribution of EM concerns under conditions of greater scrutiny. The analysis indicates that strong financial performance as well as an environmental strategy highlighting EM strengths are mechanisms for drawing scrutiny into a firm’s behavior. In doing so, the findings caution practitioners on the latent effect of EM concerns on environmental reputation.
KeywordsEnvironmental reputation Environmental strategy Visibility Attribution theory Regression analysis
- AFP. 2008. Volkswagen goes green with Japanese technology, The Local de report, 11 May, https://www.thelocal.de/20080511/11825. Accessed 9 July 2016.
- Aiken, L., and S. West. 1991. Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Apple. 2014. Environmental responsibility. http://www.apple.com/environment/. Accessed 13 Jun 2016.
- Aupperle, K., A. Carroll, and J. Hatfield. 1985. An empirical examination of the relationship between corporate social responsibility and profitability. Academy of Management Journal 28 (2): 446–463.Google Scholar
- Bansal, P., and I. Clelland. 2004. Talking trash: Legitimacy, impression management, and unsystematic risk in the context of the natural environment. Academy of Management Journal 47 (1): 93–103.Google Scholar
- Bansal, P., and Gao, J. 2008. Dual mechanisms of business sustainability: unique effects and simultaneous effects. In annual meeting of the Academy of Management, Anaheim, CA.Google Scholar
- Barnett, M. 2014. Why stakeholder ignore misconduct: A cognitive view. Journal of Management 32 (3): 794–816.Google Scholar
- Beder, S. 1997. Global spin: The corporate assault on environmentalism. NY: Chelsea Green Publishing Company.Google Scholar
- Bruno K. 1997. The World of Greenwash, CorpWatch report, 1 January, http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=244. Accessed 15 July 2016.
- Cameron, A., and P. Trivedi. 2010. Microeconometrics using Stata. College Station: Stata Press.Google Scholar
- Carcano, L. 2013. Strategic Management and Sustainability in Luxury Companies. Sustainable Luxury: A special theme issue of The Journal of Corporate Citizenship 52: 36.Google Scholar
- Dowling, G.R., and N.A. Gardberg. 2012. Keeping score: The challenges of measuring corporate reputation. In The Oxford handbook of corporate reputation, ed. M.L. Barnett, and T.G. Pollock, 34–68. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Eesley, C., and Lenox, M. 2006. Secondary stakeholder actions and the selection of firm targets. In Academy of Management Proceedings, vol. 1, B1–B6. Academy of Management.Google Scholar
- Elkington, J. 2004. Enter the triple bottom line. The triple bottom line: Does it all add up?, 1–16. New York, NY: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Fombrun, C. 1996. Reputation: Realizing value from the corporate image. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
- Fombrun, C., and M. Shanley. 1990. What’s in a name? Reputation-building and corporate strategy. Academy of Management Journal 33 (2): 233–258.Google Scholar
- Greene, W. 2000. Econometric analysis. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Hoberg, G., and Phillips, G. 2010. Text-based network industries and endogenous product differentiation. w15991, National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
- Kaplan, J. 2011. Top 10 green marketing campaigns, Ecopreneurist report, http://ecopreneurist.com/2011/10/26/top-10-green-marketing-campaigns/. Accessed 15 Jun 2016.
- Kayser, S., Maxwell, J., and Toffel, M. 2016. Signaling without certification: The critical role of civil society scrutiny, No. 15-009, Harvard Business School Working Papers, Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
- Kelley, H.H. 1972. Attribution in social interaction. In Attribution: Perceiving the Causes of Behavior, ed. E.E. Jones, D.E. Kanouse, H.H. Kelley, R.E. Nisbett, S. Valins, and B. Weiner, 1–26. Morristown, NJ: Gen. Learn. Press.Google Scholar
- McGuire, J., A. Sundgren, and T. Schneeweis. 1988. Corporate social responsibility and firm financial performance. Academy of Management Journal 31 (4): 854–872.Google Scholar
- Russo, M., and P. Fouts. 1997. A resource-based perspective on corporate environmental performance and profitability. Academy of Management Journal 40 (3): 534–559.Google Scholar