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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4090||2012||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Business Review, Volume 21, Issue 5, October 2012, Pages 847–861
Early research on environmental strategy in international firms focused predominantly on direct investment as an expansion strategy for multinationals. However, we know relatively little from a strategic management perspective about exporting, which is the most prevalent form of international expansion. For this reason, we examine whether the knowledge that export firms acquire abroad influences their environmental strategies. Using a sample of export firms from the food industry, we show that the number of years spent in developing export activities does not contribute to developing a proactive environmental strategy; however, a more complex experience of environmental international diversification is positively related to a firm's proactive environmental strategy. Finally, organisational learning capability moderates the positive relationship between environmental international diversification and environmental proactivity.
The processes of internationalisation and global economic integration by firms are currently gaining importance (Sapienza, Autio, George, & Zahra, 2006). As a result, growing environmental concerns are generating considerable challenges for international firms because environmental1 regulations and priorities remain significantly different in the international arena (e.g. Bansal, 2005, Christmann, 2004, Christmann and Taylor, 2001, Christmann and Taylor, 2006 and Rugman and Verbeke, 1998). Although some studies have found that international experience reinforces competitive advantages when a firm is challenged by different environmental requirements (e.g. Porter & van der Linde, 1995), other studies have highlighted the competitive difficulties facing international firms when they encounter different levels of environmental stringencies (e.g. King & Shaver, 2001). Early research related to environmental strategy in international firms largely emphasised direct investment as an expansion strategy for multinationals. Traditional arguments focused on how multinationals search for more relaxed environmental regulations (e.g. Vernon, 1992). More recent literature has shown that multinationals may also find incentives to generate environmental standards beyond what is required by the law though voluntary environmental initiatives (e.g. Christmann and Taylor, 2001 and Christmann and Taylor, 2006). Therefore, the debate regarding the connection between the natural environment and multinationals is ongoing. Several works, for instance, indicate that the transfer of environmental management practices to countries with relatively dissimilar environmental regulations usually results in higher adaptation costs (to realise location-specific ‘linking’ investments) for alignment with the specific advantages of the host countries (King and Shaver, 2001, Rugman and Verbeke, 1998 and Rugman and Verbeke, 2005). Other works have shown that voluntary adoption of an advanced environmental standard can reinforce a multinational's transparency, reputation, and legitimacy (Bansal, 2005 and Dowell et al., 2000) and improve relationships with stakeholders (Christmann, 2004 and Darnall et al., 2008). For instance, in 2009 Danone, along with other big bottled water producers such as Nestle (owner of the Vittel, Perrier and Poland Spring brands) and PepsiCo (owner of the Aquafina brand), was hit hard by an environmental backlash against water bottled in plastic in the US and Europe. It was particularly aggressive the campaign stating that environmental degradation from water bottled in plastic was huge compared with tap water. As one of the results, these firms responded to consumers’ concerns by using more recycled plastic in their bottles worldwide (Financial Times, 2010). We know relatively little from a strategic management perspective about environmental strategies and exporting, which is the most prevalent form of international expansion (Salomon & Shaver, 2005a). Despite recent evidence that export firms gain competitive advantages over their purely domestic counterparts (e.g. Salomon and Shaver, 2005a and Salomon and Shaver, 2005b), scant attention has been paid to whether internationalisation allows export firms to develop advanced environmental initiatives. To illustrate the connection between internationalisation and green initiatives for export firms, Jamaican manufacturing export firms that sell their products in foreign markets have traditionally been quick to recognise the benefits of environmental management systems, such as ISO 14001. For instance, Jamaica Producers Group, a major exporter of bananas to the United Kingdom and Europe, faced stiff competition from other producers in Latin America and realised the benefits to be gained by having its farms certified to ISO 14001 (Smith, 2011). For this reason, we examine whether the knowledge acquired through firms’ different experiences overseas may promote more environmentally friendly strategies for those firms. Using the knowledge-based framework for international firms as a reference (Barkema & Vermeulen, 1998), we analyse potential differences in the value and complex nature of the knowledge generated by the export firms’ international experiences. Indeed, by interacting and competing in a foreign market, export firms are exposed to knowledge that is unavailable to firms whose operations are confined to the domestic market (Grossman and Helpman, 1991a and Grossman and Helpman, 1991b). In this context, organisational capabilities may also play an essential role in assimilating and integrating environmental knowledge derived from different international experiences (Salomon & Jin, 2010). We propose in this paper that a capacity for organisational learning is important in determining the influence of international experience because it may reinforce a firm's potential to manage international operations. Thus, we emphasise that the complexity of an export firm's international experience is crucial to its potential to generate proactive environmental strategies. We argue that a more complex international experience facilitates the generation of more tacit, ambiguous and unique sources of environmental value for the organisation. In addition, the contribution of the export firm's international experience to the adoption of a proactive environmental strategy will differ depending on the firm's capacity for organisational learning (Fiol & Lyles, 1985). The article is organised as follows: the next section reviews the theoretical background of our paper under the knowledge-based view of the firm; the third section describes hypothesis development; the fourth and fifth sections describe the research methodology and results, respectively, and the final section presents our study's main conclusions, limitations, and future research implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
International competition can promote improved environmental performance by inducing greater efficiency and easier diffusion of technology and information (Andonova, 2003). For example, Monva, a Spanish export firm that sells extra-virgin olive oil to different Iberoamerican countries, has had strong success in all foreign markets in which it operates, due to its ability to differentiate itself from its competitors and its high reputation in terms of environmental issues. Hence, Monva has decided to implement environmental standards within its corporate strategy, such as ISO 14001 or EMAS (El Exportador, 2009). Although export firms do not have their own units abroad, they are able to acquire valuable knowledge abroad (Salomon & Jin, 2010) and gain access to the local labour market and the technical expertise of individuals in that market (Almeida, 1996). Drawing on a knowledge-based view of the firm, we originally stated that export firms could benefit from their international experiences to develop a proactive environmental strategy. Our results reveal that involvement in markets with diverse environmental institutional situations is positively associated with a proactive environmental strategy. For instance, the Ramondín Group is a Spanish export firm that produces safety seals for wines and spirits. It is based in Laguardia (Rioja Alavesa) and sells its products not only in Spain but also in Argentina and France. Its international customers are concerned about environmental matters, and they have encouraged the firm to develop important environmental advances in the international arena in terms of both products and processes (El Exportador, 2010). However, experience acquired over many years of export activity is not related to the generation of a proactive environmental strategy in our sample. Hence, although Hypothesis 2 is completely supported for our sample, our results do not offer support for Hypothesis 1. Our findings support the arguments of those scholars who suggest a limited importance of the accumulative knowledge in the firms’ internationalisation process (e.g. Autio, 2005, Autio et al., 2000, Oviatt and McDougall, 1994, Oviatt and McDougall, 2005, Zahra, 2005 and Zahra and Hayton, 2008); however, export firms working in markets with different environmental institutional profiles gain a background of complex knowledge that is positively related to the adoption of a proactive environmental strategy for our sample. Our results show that this complex knowledge, derived from environmental international diversification, contributes to generating a more tacit, ambiguous, and unique source of value for the organisation. In sum, our results suggest that it is not the quantity of time but the quality of the international time, reflected in the degree of complexity of the firm's environmental international diversification, that matters in developing proactive environmental strategies. The lack of a significant relationship between the number of years spent in exporting and the development of a proactive environmental strategy might be explained by the limited value generated by the process of spending years in exporting alone. We believe that the increasing availability of information regarding international markets (e.g. via government agencies or on the Internet) explains why a less complex experience is becoming less influential and might now be substituted by publicly available information. Nevertheless, the capacity for organisational learning influences the final connection between the export firm's international experience and the proactive environmental strategy. Our final results show two complementary aspects. We observe, first, that organisational learning capability does not strengthen the relationship between international experience, in terms of the number of years of export activity, and proactive environmental strategy for our sample. In fact, firms with high organisational learning capability show a much more proactive environmental strategy, but this result is independent of the number of years of exporting experience. This result emphasises the lack of a connection between the number of years of international experience and the proactive environmental strategy for our sample; the evidence does not support Hypothesis 3a. On the other hand, as suggested by Hypothesis 3b, firms with a high level of organisational learning capability tend to develop a higher level of proactive environmental strategy independent of their degree of environmental international diversification. This result might emerge because these firms possess a set of internal mechanisms and capabilities that allow them to generate valuable environmental management strategies by themselves. At the same time, the knowledge acquired through environmental international diversification is highly relevant for those firms that have low organisational learning capability and want to develop a proactive environmental strategy. This result might be a consequence of firms with a low level of organisational learning capability needing to draw more on external experiences to gain enough knowledge to generate advanced and innovative proactive environmental strategies. This paper tries to offer additional evidence to support the knowledge-based view of international firms and provides evidence about how the complex opportunities emerging from an export firm's international experience and the capacity for organisational learning can contribute to the innovative capability to be environmentally proactive. Our results suggest that managers of export firms play a significant role in bringing the export firm into contact with tacit and complex knowledge and in using it to generate a more proactive environmental strategy via organisational learning. Hence, the export firm's capacity to learn by actively seeking knowledge through international markets with different environmental profiles generates more rewarding knowledge than does simply exporting for a long period of time. Using the natural resource-based view as a reference (Christmann, 2000, Hart, 1995, Marcus and Geffen, 1998 and Russo and Fouts, 1997), we attempt to establish valuable links between export firms’ international experiences and their environmental approaches. Although previous studies have analysed the influence of international experience on corporate sustainability in multinationals (e.g. Bansal, 2005), no efforts have been made to link differentiated sources of export firms’ international experience and their adoption of proactive environmental strategies. Finally, we complement previous studies that analyse the influence of institutions on multinationals’ environmental strategies by focusing on the influence of national and international environmental regulations (e.g. Christmann, 2004, Christmann and Taylor, 2001 and Rugman and Verbeke, 1998). Therefore, we have developed a new index to take into consideration a broader environmental institutional profile of the various markets where firms develop export activities, including not only environmental regulatory aspects but also environmental cognitive and normative issues. Specifically, our environmental entropy index shows the degree of environmental international diversification of a given firm, taking into consideration the number of different regions where it operates, the weight given to each region, and the global environmental institutional profile of each region. Our results have implications for practitioners and policy-makers as well. This research encourages managers to consider that integrating knowledge emerging from international markets into the firm's corporate strategy may add real value to the firm, not only by increasing short-term revenues but also by contributing to generating organisational capabilities that will be useful in the long term (Barkema and Vermeulen, 1998, Casillas et al., 2009 and Casillas et al., 2010). Furthermore, managers can better understand that developing export activities in foreign markets can contribute to acquiring valuable environmental knowledge, which can be assimilated and integrated within their internal organisational structures. Through that integration, the export firm will be able to take advantage of the benefits derived from a more advanced proactive environmental strategy, such as minimised operation costs (e.g. Christmann, 2000 and Shrivastava, 1995) and increases in corporate transparency (Christmann, 2004), reputation, and legitimacy (e.g. Bansal, 2005 and Kostova et al., 2008). Finally, managers need to coordinate and integrate the external environmental information with the information they already have through their capacity for organisational learning. Our results also imply that governments should design special programmes and incentives that encourage learning from and for the internationalisation process. Indeed, well-designed governmental action and community awareness can work in conjunction with markets to stimulate improved environmental management. Through the creation of these incentives, firms will be able to develop organisational capabilities that reinforce their competitive advantage and at the same time protect the natural environment to develop socially responsible conduct. The conclusions of this study are subject to several limitations that may simultaneously suggest future possibilities for empirical research. First, we caution against a direct generalisation of our results given the specific location and activity of our sample. Second, our data are cross sectional because we do not include observations from different years. Future longitudinal analyses should empirically reinforce the theoretical logic of our hypotheses. Third, in relation to the moderating effects, it is important to recognise that other types of interacting relations may be analysed in the future. Fourth, because of the lack of public information about firms’ environmental strategies, percentage of sales attributed to each market and organisational learning, we used questionnaires to interview the CEO of each firm to collect these data. The main disadvantage of this method is that responses might be influenced by managers’ perceptions and may not properly represent the perspective of the whole firm. Finally, other questions related to the topic treated here could become the object of additional research and discussion. For instance, combining firms’ international factors with other internal capabilities (e.g. capability of engaging with host, domestic, and transnational stakeholders) can help to complete the capabilities framework portion of our analysis. Finally, a detailed comparison between the environmental strategies of multinational enterprises and export firms could provide tools to be used to identify the role of firm size in corporate environmental strategy in an international context.