, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 165-180
Date: 17 Aug 2006

Seeing Is (Not) Believing: Managing the Impressions of the Firm’s Commitment to the Natural Environment

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This paper examines stakeholder responses to impression management tactics used by firms that express environmental commitment. We inductively analyzed data from 98 open-ended questionnaires and identified two impression management tactics that led respondents to believe that a firm was credible in its commitment to the natural environment. Approximately, half of the respondents responded to illustrative impression management tactics that provide images of, and/or broad-brush comments about, the firm’s commitment to the natural environment. The other half responded to demonstrative impression management tactics, which provide specific facts and details about the firm’s operations. The research results provide important insights into the effects of organizational transparency. In this paper, we explore these findings and provide directions for future research.

Pratima Bansal is an associate professor and the Shurniak Professor in International Business at the Richard Ivey School of Business. Her research has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Business Ethics, the British Journal of Management, and the Journal of Management Studies. Her research interests are primarily in the areas of sustainable development and international business.
Geoffrey Kistruck is a PhD Candidate in Strategic Management at the Richard Ivey School of Business. His research has received distinguished best paper awards at academic conferences, and his research interests are primarily in the areas of corporate governance and nonprofit organizations.