Corporate Environmentalism in China Defended on Thursday, 1 June 2017

While the corporate environmentalism literature has shed light on how different stakeholders such as government, industry, and civil society can exert their influences on corporate environmentalism in developed economies, there is a dearth in both theories and empirics that explain (1) the complexity within a single constituent that could be impactful through multiple and sometimes contradictory expectations on firm behaviors, (2) the environmental strategies in the business group form that is prevalent in Asian and emerging economies, and (3) how the world’s largest emerging economy, China, is addressing its environmental problems in an almost utterly different context.

I build on corporate environmentalism, business group, and China studies literatures in an attempt to reveal a comprehensive picture of how different external and internal forces jointly influence the corporate environmental strategies in the emerging economy of China. Findings from two empirical studies exploring corporate environmental strategies in Chinese firms suggest that (1) the Chinese state has multiple faces at different levels in the political hierarchy, exerting non-concerted influences on corporate environmental practices, (2) there is heterogeneity among Chinese business group affiliates on environmental strategies caused by their pressure sensitive and pressure resistant attributes. The findings from this dissertation are not only applicable to China but also to other settings, including developed federal states where decentralized autonomy prevails as well as other emerging economies where the business group is an important economic force.


Corporate environmentalism, China, environmental practices, government power, environmental policy, business group, affiliates, environmental management system

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