Journal of Management Control

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 413–450 | Cite as

Shades of green: using computer-aided qualitative data analysis to explore different aspects of corporate environmental performance

  • Claudia Poser
  • Edeltraud Guenther
  • Marc Orlitzky
Original Paper


This paper provides a comprehensive overview and synthesis of the various definitions of corporate environmental performance (CEP) in conceptual and empirical papers. Based on an overview of existing conceptual and empirical studies of CEP, we analyze the complex nature of this multidimensional construct. In a first step, we apply content analysis to the relevant literature to identify definitions of CEP and conduct a bibliometric analysis using the software HistCite. We found only few studies that provide a clear definition of CEP. In a second step, we use a semantic mapping methodology by applying Leximancer, a computer-aided qualitative data analysis tool to organize the large literature on CEP and to explore the definitional and conceptual complexity of CEP. To our knowledge, this is a new and unique approach in the field of environmental management. This paper contributes to research on CEP in three ways. First, it collects and summarizes definitions and measurements of CEP used in the organizational literature so far. Second, it provides a bird’s eye view on the different contexts in which CEP is discussed. Third, a parsimonious model of CEP derived from computer-aided qualitative data analysis and consisting of five major elements is presented and discussed.


Computer-aided qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) Content analysis Corporate environmental performance HistCite Leximancer 


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Poser
    • 1
  • Edeltraud Guenther
    • 1
  • Marc Orlitzky
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Business and Economics, Chair of Environmental Management and AccountingTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  2. 2.The Pennsylvania State UniversityAltoonaUSA

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