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Enterprise-Level Motivations, Regulatory Pressures, and Corporate Environmental Management in Guangzhou, China

Abstract

This study examines the effects of internal motivations and external pressures on the integration of environmental management (EM) practices within manufacturing operations in China. The moderating role of perceptions toward the regulatory process is also considered along with comparisons between wholly Chinese-owned and foreign-owned enterprises. From a sample of 131 manufacturing companies in the Guangzhou area, it was found that the salience of fees and fines has a strong positive influence on perceptions toward the regulator (the local Environmental Protection Bureau, EPB). This also has a positive effect on perceptions toward regulations themselves for foreign-owned enterprises. Business-case motivations for EM positively shape enterprise perceptions toward regulations, whereas risk-reduction motivations have a negative effect on perceptions toward regulations in foreign-owned enterprises. Enterprise perceptions toward the regulatory process have direct effects on the integration of EM practices in wholly Chinese-owned enterprises, but in opposite directions. While positive perceptions toward regulations have positive influence, positive perceptions toward regulators (i.e., the EPB) negatively affect it. Overall, these results indicated that promoting the adoption of EM practices depends on convincing business leaders that EM practices contribute to profit making. The regulatory process can potentially promote these practices, but measures need to be taken to ensure that the regulator is not co-opted by the regulated, especially in wholly Chinese-owned enterprises.

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Acknowledgments

Research for this paper was funded in part by the project “Assessing Ecological Modernization in China: A Longitudinal and Comparative Study of Stakeholder Demands and Corporate Environmental Management Practices” of the Research Grant Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (RGC No.: PolyU 5458/12H).

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Correspondence to Carlos Wing-Hung Lo.

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Tang, SY., Li, P.H., Fryxell, G.E. et al. Enterprise-Level Motivations, Regulatory Pressures, and Corporate Environmental Management in Guangzhou, China. Environmental Management 56, 777–790 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-015-0527-8

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Keywords

  • China
  • Corporate environmental management
  • Regulatory pressure
  • Foreign-owned enterprises
  • Chinese-owned enterprises