Institutional Environment, Managerial Attitudes and Environmental Sustainability Orientation of Small Firms

Journal of Business Ethics 111 (4):461-476 (2012)
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Abstract

This study examines the direct impact of three dimensions of the institutional environment on managerial attitudes toward the natural environment and the direct influence of the latter on the environmental sustainability orientation (ESO) of small firms. We contend that when the institutional environment is perceived by owner–managers as supportive of sound natural environment management practices, they are more likely to develop a positive attitude toward natural environment issues and concerns. Such owner–manager attitudes are likely to lead to a positive and proactive orientation of their firms toward environmental sustainability. The study uses survey data from 166 small manufacturing firms located in three Philippine cities. First, the study develops and tests the measurement models to examine the validity of the constructs representing the firm’s institutional environment, managerial attitudes toward the natural environment and the ESO of firms. Second, the study develops and tests the structural models examining the institutional environment–managerial attitudes–ESO linkages. Multi-sample invariance structural model analysis shows the mediating role of managerial attitudes in the institutional environment–ESO nexus. The findings show that ESO is a construct comprising three dimensions: knowledge of environmental issues, sustainable practices and commitment toward environmental sustainability. The cognitive, regulatory and normative elements of the institutional environment are strongly linked to positive managerial attitudes toward environmental sustainability, which in turn, positively influences the firm’s overall ESO. Managerial attitudes play a mediating role in the institutional environment–ESO linkages. The managerial, practical, research and policy implications of the research findings are discussed.

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