Institutional Change and Green IS: Towards Problem-Driven, Mechanism-Based Explanations

Part of the Integrated Series in Information Systems book series (ISIS, volume 28)


There is growing global unease in relation to the environmental sustainability of business activities, particularly where climate change is concerned. Consequently, the increase in emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) associated with economic growth is identified by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as a problem of grave concern. In the EU, ambitious targets have been set for GHG emissions reductions. Both the OECD and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) have identified that between now and 2020 the direct and enabling effects of Green IS could help achieve significant reductions in GHG emissions across all industry sectors. In order to help understand how this objective may be achieved, this chapter presents mechanism-based explanations, which draw on institutional theory and social movement theory, to help explain and predict the adoption, implementation and use of Green IS in organizational fields. Thus, in keeping with extant perspectives in the social sciences, the study eschews the quest for universal laws or general theory, in favour of conceptual mechanism-based explanations of IS phenomena. While environmental sustainability has exercised the interest of researchers in cognate disciplines, Green IS is a new area of interest for IS researchers, hence this chapter’s contribution is timely.


Green IS Institutional theory Social movement theory Climate change 



Carbon disclosure project


Global e-sustainability initiative


Greenhouse gas


Information and communication technologies


Institute of electrical and electronics engineers


Intergovernmental panel on climate change


Information systems


International standards organisation


Information technology


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Accounting, Finance and Information Systems, College of Business and LawUniversity College CorkCork CityIreland

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