مدلسازی تاثیر بر عملکرد زیست محیطی ایزو 14001: رویکرد تطبیقی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|6052||2012||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 99, 30 May 2012, Pages 84–97
Studies analyzing the effects of ISO 14001 certification and determinants of environmental performance tend to be based on a traditional and instrumental model of efficiency. Using structural equation modelling developed through a survey of 303 organizations, this paper compares the validity of this instrumental model with two alternatives models: the legitimacy-based model and the hybrid model. The findings question the efficiency of ISO 14001 and show that the traditional model does not explain the environmental performance of the surveyed organizations. Study results show that the legitimacy-based model, which questions the efficiency of ISO 14001 certification, is more pertinent in explaining the environmental performance but leads to a rather critical view of management practices. The development of a hybrid model based on the principal hypotheses of the legitimacy-based model, but integrating certain managerial and operational practices distinct from ISO 14001 certification, results in a less critical and more pertinent view of the determinants of environmental performance. Study results suggest that this hybrid model provides the best data fit.
Since its introduction in 1996, the ISO 14001 standard has become a reference model in the field of environmental management. With more than 250,000 certified organizations in the world in 2010, this standard seems to be garnering the same success as the referential ISO 9000 standard already adopted by over 1,100,000 organizations (International Organization for Standardization, 2011). Contrary to the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), which is primarily used in Europe, the ISO 14001 standard has been implemented in a growing number of countries, including China, where nearly 70,000 organizations were certified in 2010 (International Organization for Standardization, 2011). However, despite institutional pressure in favour of ISO 14001 certification and its rapid growth, the efficiency of this standard remains controversial, and studies of the issue have led to contradictory results (Boiral, 2007, Jiang and Bansal, 2003, King et al., 2005 and Welch et al., 2003). This research is based on an empirical study of 303 organizations and the evaluation of three theoretical models. Its purpose is to analyze the extent to which ISO 14001 certification and the implementation of various management practices might explain the environmental performance of organizations. Three models involving different meanings and paradigms related to IS0 14001 effectiveness are discussed and compared: (i) an instrumental model, (ii) a legitimacy-based model, and (iii) a hybrid model. The first model explored is based on a traditional and instrumental view of relationships between ISO 14001 certification, management practices and environmental performance. The second model explored is based on an appraisal of this traditional and instrumental approach. In this model, ISO 14001 certification and management practices represent first and foremost a means of responding to external pressure that is devoid of any real impact on environmental performance. The development of a third model based on the results of the previous two models is intended to provide an alternative between the functionalist character of the classical model and the rather radical approach of the critical model. Exploring and validating different models that might explain the meaning of ISO 14001 for managers and its connection with practices expected to improve environmental performance also sheds light on several problems related to certification. First, the ISO 14001 standard is not based on any predefined performance objective, but on a range of practices whose efficiency remains to be clearly demonstrated (Boiral, 2007 and Jiang and Bansal, 2003). The development and validation of explanatory models makes it possible to evaluate the efficiency of these practices from different theoretical perspectives. Secondly, studies on the determinants of environmental performance rarely make connections with specific practices inherent to the ISO 14001 system, and tend to consider this standard from a monolithic standpoint. Modelling different configurations of the relationships between environmental management practices and improved performance in this field contributes to analyzing the extent to which the determinants of these performances correspond to ISO 14001 system prescriptions. Thirdly, organizations can ostensibly adopt the standard in order to make a point of meeting certification process requirements and complying with external pressures, but without implementing the means or internal measures needed to truly improve their environmental performance (Boiral, 2007 and Christmann and Taylor, 2006). In such case, alternatives legitimacy-based and hybrid models questioning the use of the standard as a tool to improve internal practices and environmental performance might prove pertinent in understanding the meaning of certification inside organizations. Because they are based, for the most part, on an instrumental model, studies on the impact of ISO 14001 can hardly verify the pertinence of alternatives approaches with regard to the determinants of environmental performance and the symbolic role of certification. This study will explore the pertinence of these alternatives approaches in relation to the dominant instrumental and traditional model.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The purpose of this research was to use several concurrent theoretical models to gain a better understanding of organizational practices, in particular ISO 14001 certification, in order to explain environmental performance. Structural equation models (SEM) served to test the three models that offer different explanations of the leading determinants of environmental performance and the role of certification. The first model is based on a classical and functionalist view of the relationship between implementation of the ISO 14001 standard and practices normally associated with improved environmental performance. From this standpoint, ISO 14001 appears as a form of “managerial technology” (Mouritsen et al., 2000) based on efficient sound environmental management practices adapted to organizational needs (Chattopadhyay, 2001, González-Benito and González-Benito, 2005, Melnyk et al., 2003 and Pun and Hui, 2001). However, the results of this study do not support the validity of this model. Indeed, if ISO 14001 certification is, as anticipated, positively linked to the implementation of managerial practices specifically required by this standard (environmental audits, documentation of practices, etc.), the existence of these practices does not seem linked to improved environmental performance, even for uncertified organizations. Moreover, contrary to expectations regarding the traditional model, measures that significantly influence environmental performance (discretionary managerial measures, operational actions, performance indicators and stakeholder pressure) are not influenced by implementation of the standard. The second model is based on a legitimacy-based view that casts doubt on the positive and direct or indirect relationships between implementation of ISO 14001 and improved environmental performance. According to this rather critical view, ISO 14001 certification is primarily a response to external pressures aimed at re-aligning the organization with social expectations. Its rapid dissemination is explained by a trend phenomenon (Abrahamson, 1991 and Green, 2004), not by its intrinsic efficiency. In fact, integration of this management system remains relatively superficial and representative of a “myth and ceremony” serving to strengthen the organization’s social legitimacy (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983 and Meyer and Rowan, 1977). Instead, improved environmental performance is the result of concrete operational actions independent from ISO 14001 certification and other managerial measures (see Fig. 2). Study results suggest that data obtained correspond well to relationships established by the critical model. Therefore, this legitimacy-based model is more pertinent in explaining the environmental performance of organizations studied and their possible connections with ISO 14001 certification. However, the legitimacy-based model leads to rather strong questioning of management practices deemed inefficient overall. The only pertinent approach to improving environmental performance is the implementation of operational ecological action: product redesign, recycling, procedure remanufacturing, etc. Therefore, this approach tends to ignore some positive links established by the classical model between independent managerial practices of ISO 14001 certification and improved environmental performance. These practices concern discretionary managerial actions and the diversity of performance indicators. The development of an alternative and exploratory hybrid model makes it possible to consider these managerial variables while maintaining the principle hypotheses of the critical model, in particular those regarding the inefficiency of ISO 14001 certification (see Fig. 3). Results show that this hybrid model is superior to the two other models in explaining environmental performance of the organizations studied. The results of this study make three main contributions to the current debate surrounding the efficiency of environmental management practices, particularly the ISO 14001 standard. First, this study sheds doubt on the leading premises of the traditional model currently dominating research on the impact of ISO 14001 certification. Study results confirm those of the few critical studies that have questioned the efficiency of the ISO 14001 standard (Barla, 2007, Boiral, 2007, King et al., 2005 and Welch et al., 2003). However, contrary to most of the traditional or critical approaches applied to this standard, this study is not limited to examining the positive or negative impacts of certification. It also considers management practices and actions not necessarily required by ISO 14001 that may influence environmental performance. This broader approach leads to a more global and comprehensive understanding of factors that may or may not have a positive effect on the reduction of environmental impacts. It also precludes reducing the standard to a tool intended at the onset to improve performance, showing the very uncertain relationships between certification requirements and practices that seem to be the most efficient. Finally, consideration of several aspects of environmental performance makes it possible to deal with this complex concept in a less restrictive and more integrated manner. Secondly, this study explores alternatives to the traditional model. Alternative models shed more light on the complex nature of relationships between management practices and environmental performance. Thus, the study is not limited to challenging the leading premises of the dominant traditional model regarding the benefits of ISO 14001 certification. It also contributes to exploring daring theoretical hypotheses on the true efficiency of environmental management practices and proposes an integrating hybrid model. Indeed, critical and traditional models emerge as extreme theories based on monolithic and divergent premises. The hybrid model results in an acceptable compromise between the two extremes, providing a more complete, and probably more realistic, picture of the determinants of environmental performance. Drawing attention to these determinants through an exploratory hybrid model shows the importance of diversifying theoretical approaches in order to avoid confining the analytical approach to a unique, restrictive paradigm that is either functionalist or more critical. Although the hybrid model tends to cast doubt on the efficiency of the ISO 14001 standard, it also proposes a less radical and more optimistic approach than the critical model, highlighting the efficiency of some management practices in the improvement of environmental performance. Paradoxically, however, practices that appear to be the most efficient seem to have been overlooked by the designers of the ISO 14001 standard. Therefore, this study draws attention to measures that might eventually be considered by the Organization International for Standardization during one of its recurring revisions of the contents of ISO management standards. Our study also questions the increasing use of these management standards as a self-regulatory mechanism by governments (Christmann and Taylor, 2006). Indeed, contrary to certifiable management systems, regulations and governmental programs are generally based on technical and operational actions (contaminants reduction, recycling, etc.), which seem more likely to improve environmental performance. Thirdly, the models proposed, particularly the hybrid model, allow managers better to understand and anticipate probable consequences of the implementation of certain practices, including the ISO 14001 standard. Thus, managers concerned with reducing the environmental impact of their organization should not limit their efforts to implementing the ISO 14001 standard. Rather, they should encourage diversity in performance indicators and promote concrete operational actions and some discretionary managerial actions. The fact that these different actions are not expressly provided for or promoted by ISO 14001 is not indicative of incompatibility with certification. Indeed, the standard may possibly offer a structuring framework favouring consideration of these kinds of measures. Thus, ISO 14001 recommendations regarding measurement of environmental performance and continuous improvement may be used to diversify performance indicators. Likewise, ISO 14001 provisions regarding mastery of operations and environmental aspects may serve to promote operational environmental actions based on the specificities of each organization. Finally, discretionary managerial actions may be integrated into policy, objectives and environmental programs required by the standard. Generally speaking, the ISO 14001 system does not precisely define the nature of environmental actions to implement. Instead, it proposes a range of directives encouraging the promotion of policies, plans, action programs and means of control adapted to each organization. It is up to the organizations to define the content and operational aspects of directives recommended by the standard. While this study shows that the most efficient environmental actions are not directly linked to ISO 14001 certification, the critical and hybrid models suggest that this is primarily due to the fact that the standard is not really used by organizations as a tool to improve performance and because its implementation is, above all, the result of external pressure form stakeholders. Therefore, improvements in environmental performance resulting from ISO 14001 certification are not automatic, and they infer an effort to impart operational consistency to this management system that may, depending on the circumstances, run the risk of looking like a kind of “empty shell.” The principle limitations of this study make it possible to identify some avenues to explore in future research. Essentially, this study is subject to potential limitations in terms of internal and external validity. First, no clear evidence of causality can be established with survey data obtained from cross-sectional analyses. Rather, the evidence must be considered consistent with theoretical arguments and predicted relationships. Second, results may not be generalized outside the scope of the current sample (i.e., medium sized Canadian manufacturing firms). Studies based on larger and more diversified samples may possibly demonstrate the influence of some contextual variables (size, sector of activity, etc.) on the predominance of one or another model of performance. Secondly, the variables used in this study are limited and do not necessarily cover all determinants of environmental performance. For example, to limit the complex nature of this study, mandatory managerial actions did not consider all ISO 14001 recommendations. It is possible that some of these recommendations may have a positive impact on environmental performance, while others have a negative impact, or no impact whatsoever. A study involving a more complete and systematic analysis of the effects of different provisions of the standard on performance could result in a more precise and less monolithic verdict of ISO 14001 system recommendations. Likewise, other aspects of environmental management not considered in the standard or during this study may influence environmental performance. For example, employee mobilization and employee awareness and participation in the environmental actions of an organization can have a non-negligible impact on performance in this area (Boiral, 1998, Kitazawa and Sarkis, 2000, Ruiz-Quintanilla et al., 1996 and Theyel, 2000). It would be interesting to evaluate the extent to which ISO 14001 certification contributes to such mobilization and examine if the efficiency or inefficiency of the standard does not depend on real employee support of this management system. Likewise, the managers’ core values and resources for implementing ISO 14001 can have a significant impact on environmental performance (Boiral et al., 2009, Brust and Liston-Heyes, 2010 and Rodríguez et al., 2011). The extent to which ISO 14001 certification reinforces managers’ values and support for environmental issue could be an interesting avenue for future research. Finally, the efficiency of the ISO 14001 standard and environmental management overall probably depends less on explicit technical and managerial aspects than on the way these practices are implemented on a daily basis and the true resolve of managers and employees to improve environmental performance.