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Keywords:

  • institutional theory;
  • natural environment;
  • management commitment;
  • environmental responsibility

ABSTRACT

Institutional theory argues that conformity to institutional pressure enhances the survival probability of organizations. Two key limitations of institutional theory have been proposed in recent literature: one, that it ignores the role of top management, and two, that it focuses only on survival as a benefit to the exclusion of more strategic benefits such as growth and profitability. In this research, we build a conceptual model that addresses both of these limitations in the context of institutional pressure on organizations to behave more responsibly vis-à-vis the natural environment. Results from a survey of 199 manufacturing firms show that the relationship between institutional pressure and corporate responsiveness to the pressure (i.e. corporate environmental responsiveness) is enhanced when top management commitment to the environment is high. Moreover, results show that organizational conformity to institutional pressure enhances the strategic benefits that organizations receive. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.