TESTING THE INFLUENCE OF VARIOUS "LICENSES" IN MOTIVATING CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL BEHAVIOR
Simpson, Sally S.
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In this dissertation, I test a framework of corporate environmental compliance put forth by Gunningham, Kagan, and Thornton in their 2003 book called Shades of Green. However, this dissertation moves beyond a mere test of theory by integrating the corporate-level license framework with the individual-level Rational Choice Theory. In doing so, this integration portrays how individuals within corporations decide to comply or overcomply with environmental regulations while accounting for the organizational context. Specifically, external pressures from the legal, social, and economic domains as well as corporation-wide policies and culture impact individual-level cost-benefit analyses. In turn, these cost-benefit calculations impact the decisions made by corporate managers. I propose five hypotheses based on this integration and test them using an environmental vignette survey of individuals as well as meta-analytical data. The vignette survey provides a randomly-generated hypothetical scenario and asks respondents (here, environmentally-minded business people) to predict their likelihood of offending or overcomplying as the depicted manager in the scenario did. Results provide mixed support for the impact of the external license pressures and more support for the rational choice theory measures. I also compare similarities and differences between the offending and overcompliance models. I conducted a test of the robustness of hypothesis 1 results using meta-analysis of studies collected through 2006. These studies use actual firm-level behaviors as their outcomes and therefore overcame some of the limitations of the vignette study. I found additional support for the relationship between external pressures and offending, although more analysis is needed to assess how effects differ by study methodologies and samples. Overall, this integrated theory is worthy of further empirical testing and has important implications for both theories of corporate crime as well as prevention and control policies. Future research should examine the interactions between factors affecting the corporation, those affecting the individuals in charge of the corporation, and interactions between these factors and levels. The theory proffered here provides a clear, comprehensive, yet fairly parsimonious foundation for doing so.