Striving to be green: the adoption of total quality environmental management

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Abstract:

Many firms are undertaking environment-friendly organizational change by applying the philosophy of total quality management with its emphasis on reducing waste and increasing efficiency. Their objective is to improve their management of pollution and increase customer satisfaction. This article investigates the factors that lead to total quality environmental management (TQEM) by large firms. We find that internal considerations stemming from a firm's technical capability, size (absolute and relative to competing firms), extent of operations and volume of past emissions are strongly associated with the TQEM adoption decision. The first four factors are proxies for the firm's costs and capabilities of adopting TQEM while the fifth factor is related to the benefits from increasing efficiency and waste reduction, and thus proxies for internally generated demand for TQEM. The desire to improve a firm's image with customers, earning good-will with regulators and the anticipation of future regulations do not appear to be associated with the adoption of TQEM. Thus, this article's main conclusion is that the adoption of TQEM is associated mostly with internal factors and motives.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036840600994005

Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics, University of Vermont, Bington, VT 05405, USA 2: Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA 3: Department of Economics, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61820, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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