This paper is part of a broader project funded by the EPA's Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program, managed by the EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD), National Center for Environmental Research (NCER). STAR research supports the Agency's mission to safeguard human health and the environment. The authors are grateful to Manuel Vallee and Pete Younkin for their excellent research support throughout the project, and in particular for Manuel's considerable contribution to the interviews and his critique of an early draft. The authors also benefited from comments from participants at a workshop held at the University of California, Berkeley on 2 July 2003 on “Corporate Environmental Performance and the Effectiveness of Government Interventions.” We are particularly grateful for the comments of Peter May, both at the workshop and subsequently.
Motivating Management: Corporate Compliance in Environmental Protection*
Article first published online: 11 MAR 2005
Law & Policy
Volume 27, Issue 2, pages 289–316, April 2005
How to Cite
GUNNINGHAM, N. A., THORNTON, D. and KAGAN, R. A. (2005), Motivating Management: Corporate Compliance in Environmental Protection. Law & Policy, 27: 289–316. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9930.2005.00201.x
- Issue published online: 11 MAR 2005
- Article first published online: 11 MAR 2005
Based on interviews with facility managers in the electroplating and chemical industries, this study examines regulated firms’ perceptions of how various instrumental, normative, and social factors motivated their firms’ environmental actions. We found that “implicit general deterrence” (the overall effect of sustained inspection and enforcement activity) was far more important than either specific or general deterrence, and that deterrence in any form was of far greater concern to small and medium-sized enterprises than it was to large ones. Most reputation-sensitive firms in the environmentally sensitive chemical industry chose to go substantially beyond compliance for reasons that related to risk management and to the perceived need to protect their social license to operate. Almost half our respondents also provided normative explanations for why they complied. Overall, we conclude that there are various, often interwoven, strands that must be taken into account in understanding what motivates corporate environmental behavior, and how they play out depends very much on the size and sophistication of companies themselves and on the characteristics of the industry sector within which they are located.