اثرات گوناگون فاصله نهادی رسمی و غیر رسمی بین دو کشور بر عملکرد زیست محیطی شرکت های چند ملیتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11344||2013||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 66, Issue 12, December 2013, Pages 2657–2665
This research examines the influence of environmental institutional distance between home and host countries on the standardization of environmental performance among multinational enterprises using ordinary least-squares (OLS) regression techniques and a sample of 128 multinationals from high-polluting industries. The paper examines the environmental institutional distance of countries using the concepts of formal and informal institutional distances. The results show that whereas a high formal environmental distance between home and host countries leads multinational enterprises to achieve a different level of environmental performance according to each country's legal requirements, a high informal environmental distance encourages these firms to unify their environmental performance independently of the countries in which their units are based. The study also discusses the implications for academia, managers, and policy makers.
Institutional theory establishes that organizations are embedded within broader social structures, comprising different types of institutions that exert significant influence on the decision-making of corporations (e.g., Campbell, 2007 and Campbell et al., 1991). Because multinational enterprises (MNEs) operate in different countries, they face challenges in strategically deciding whether their approaches should be similar given the diversity of the countries and regions in which they operate (Kostova & Roth, 2002). In the environmental arena, previous works have generated broad debate, and while some works have proposed that environmental differences between countries may generate incentives for maintaining differentiated approaches to reduce costs where possible (e.g., Chang and Rosenzweig, 2001, King and Shaver, 2001, Stewart, 1993 and Vernon, 1992), other works have claimed that firms may prefer a standardized approach to reinforce credibility (e.g., Christmann, 2004, Delmas and Montes-Sancho, 2011, Orlitzky et al., 2011 and Rivera and deLeon, 2008). International business researchers have mostly used institutional theory (e.g., DiMaggio and Powell, 1983, North, 1990 and Scott, 1995) to study the impact of institutional distance on the different strategies of MNEs. The extent of similarity or dissimilarity between the institutional environments of home and host countries may influence multiple strategic decisions of international firms, such as location choice (Holburn and Zelner, 2010 and Xu and Shenkar, 2002), ownership (Eden & Miller, 2004), or entry strategies (Arslan and Larimo, 2010, Estrin et al., 2009 and Xu and Shenkar, 2002). In general, Kostova (1999) and Kostova and Zaheer (1999) suggested that the greater the institutional distance between home and host countries, the more difficult it will be for the MNE to transfer organizational practices from the parent firm to the foreign subsidiary. The institutional literature in the international field has given much attention to the influence of national and international regulations (e.g., Gunningham and Kagan, 2005, Hoffmann et al., 2009 and Kostova et al., 2008). Within the green context, the body of literature connecting international business and corporate environmental strategies has also widely analyzed the impact of environmental regulations (e.g., Bansal, 2005, Christmann, 2004, Darnall, 2006, King and Shaver, 2001, Rugman and Verbeke, 1998a and Rugman and Verbeke, 1998b), but recent work has recognized that the results are still inconclusive (e.g., Christmann and Taylor, 2006, Darnall, 2006, Darnall et al., 2008 and Delmas and Montes-Sancho, 2011). This work concerning regulations is directly related to the formal dimension in North's proposal to delimitate the national environment (North, 1990), but research has not considered the informal dimension in North's proposal (which is more related to values and culture in the country) so far. Previous contradictory findings regarding the relation between institutional distance and the level of homogeneity in the MNEs' environmental approaches may be due to their focus on formal institutions, with little regard for informal ones. For example, similar national environmental regulations do not necessarily imply a similar degree of environmental development in the two countries because they may place different levels of social priority on the enforcement of environmental regulations (Christmann and Taylor, 2001 and Dasgupta et al., 2000). Little effort has been made to take into account informal institutional elements at the country-level as they relate to environmental issues (e.g., Darnall, 2006, Darnall, 2009 and Delmas and Montes-Sancho, 2011; Hoffman, 1999). The study here makes at least two contributions. First, this study extends previous literature on the influence of institutional distance by showing that different institutional dimensions should be taken into consideration to explain the strategies of MNEs and that each one may have a specific impact on the firms' approaches. Explicit attention will not only be given to the formal aspects of institutional distance but also to the most informal features. Second, this research answers the call to analyze the influence of institutional dimensions on specific domains. Previous literature emphasizes that institutional distance must be measured with reference to the related institutional context (e.g., Busenitz, Gomez, & Spencer, 2000). The study here focuses on the green context; the study extends recent attention in this field (Aguilera-Caracuel, Aragón-Correa, Hurtado-Torres, & Rugman, 2012) by offering a general framework that includes differentiated analysis of the effects of the formal and informal environmental distances between home and host countries. In addition, we incorporate the term, “environmental performance standardization,” to refer to a scenario in which the MNEs' facilities operating in different countries reach similar levels of environmental impact. Based on a sample of 128 MNEs in three different industries with headquarters and subsidiaries based in the USA, Canada, France, and Spain, the results show that not all the dimensions of environmental institutional distance have the same influence on the standardization of environmental performance within an MNE. A high informal environmental distance between home and host countries encourages the MNEs to standardize their environmental performance, whereas a high formal environmental distance drives the MNEs to adapt their environmental performance according to each country's institutional requirements. This paper proceeds with a theoretical review in Section 2. Section 3 proposes the hypotheses. The fourth and fifth sections report on the methodology and describe the empirical results, respectively. Section 6 offers a discussion and conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The international business literature recognizes that countries' institutional dimensions may have a direct impact on MNEs' strategic approaches (Kostova & Roth, 2002). Considering the simultaneous influence of countries' institutional dimensions and firms' potential to generate advantages through own initiatives (Rugman, 1981, Rugman and Verbeke, 1998a, Rugman and Verbeke, 1998b and Rugman and Verbeke, 2001), this study helps explain how the different dimensions of environmental institutional distance between home and host countries influence MNEs' decisions regarding environmental performance standardization. The results are particularly useful because they show that high institutional distance may have different implications depending on the specific institutional dimension. The results demonstrate that a high formal environmental distance between home and host countries leads the sampled MNEs to exhibit high variance in environmental performance based on the legal requirements for each local context. These results suggest that when the formal environmental distance is high, the MNEs comply with environmental regulations to avoid penalties, sanctions, and legal costs. The organizations analyzed appear to find it more efficient to improve their environmental performance as necessary within the local context than to standardize their approach to environmental issues based on the most stringent regulations in the different countries in which they operate. Large informal differences between home and host countries result in lower differences between the headquarters' and subsidiaries' environmental performance in the different countries in which these units operate. Within the green context, because the agents' perceptions regarding beliefs, cultural customs, and codes of conduct are often diverse and perhaps even contradictory, the MNEs avoid the high costs and risks of adapting their environmental performance levels to the environmental schemas of each country. Because this dimension reflects societal beliefs and schemas related to what the environmental issues are, the dimension is difficult for outsiders to discern and interpret because it is embedded in subtle social structures (Gersick, 1991). Consequently, the MNEs prefer to standardize their level of environmental performance because they are able to reinforce their reputation and legitimacy and add coherence to their business model (Bansal, 2005 and Kostova et al., 2008). The control variables (i.e., size, original location, or financial performance) have shown that some variables traditionally discussed in the environmental literature are relevant to the analysis of multinational firms. However, the inclusion of the control variables does not alter the findings concerning the importance of the dimensions of institutional distance between countries. The presented research makes two important contributions to the international business and environmental strategy literature. First, the research advances institutional theory in terms of the specific influence of formal and informal dimensions of the institutional distance between countries. Previous international management studies concerning the effect of institutional distance between home and host countries have been ambiguous on this distinction (Gammeltoft et al., 2012). Second, this work extends the previous literature analyzing the environmental strategies of MNEs by emphasizing the joint importance of firm-specific assets and institutional dimensions in the environmental field. The study facilitates an understanding of how the institutional distance between home and host countries affects whether the firm-specific advantages connected with optimum levels of environmental performance are useful in all the locations in which the MNEs operate or only some of them (non-location-bound and location-bound green FSAs). Hence, this work helps to reinforce the links between the institutional and strategic literature regarding international firms and the natural environment. This research has implications for managers as well. Governmental regulations are clear and easy to follow for decision-makers. Managers must comply with environmental regulations to obtain a “license to operate” and ensure the firms' survival (Gunningham & Kagan, 2005). In the case of a high formal environmental distance between the home and host countries, adaptation according to the legal requirements in each country where MNEs have operations may be the most efficient way. At the same time, there are relevant informal institutional elements that may lead managers to create environmental performance standards within the MNEs' internal network. Managers might attempt to cultivate similar environmental approaches in all the MNEs' units (headquarters and subsidiaries) if there is a large informal environmental distance between home and host countries. In this case, MNE managers may want to avoid the risk of misunderstanding the locally embedded conditions and to transfer legitimacy from the country of the headquarters by promoting and transferring their MNE's own internal environmental practices, codes of conduct, and cultural traditions across the organization. For policy makers, this research provides new insight into the importance of considering informal institutions as well as formal ones when creating incentives to protect the natural environment. To improve the environmental performance of international firms, governments must specifically take into consideration the influence of other institutional conditions in addition to making appropriate regulations. To include these influences, governments are required to design proper policies and incentives beyond environmental regulations that encourage organizations to develop advanced environmental management initiatives. Because MNEs are key operators in terms of economic and environmental development (Kolk and Pinkse, 2008 and Kolk and van Tulder, 2010), policy makers and public and private agents (i.e., NGOs, green associations) need to encourage them to take the responsibility to become agents of global change. This study has several limitations. First, the MNEs' environmental performance was measured using data on air releases. Although air releases are an important dimension of environmental performance, water and land release data and data on waste recovery and recycling processing may be of interest to complement the study if these data become internationally available in the future. Second, although the researchers verified that all the compared facilities belonged to the same industry, data limitations prevented determining whether the subsidiaries were more or less focused on specific products than the headquarters and determining the number of their revenue-generating activities. Finally, the different national environmental registries remain incomplete. This study only analyzed the period for which all the national environmental registries offer full information. Future studies should validate the presented results using a sample that includes organizational units located in developing countries from Asia and Africa. These countries may have very different national environmental institutional profiles and may generate different effects on the level of environmental practices transferred (Peng et al., 2008). It may also be useful to complement the work by analyzing the roles of specific agents (i.e., NGOs or green activists) in limiting or expanding the influence of the environmental institutional distance between countries.