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Open AccessArticle

Environmental Protection and Corporate Responsibility: The Perspectives of Senior Managers and CxOs in China

1
College of Business, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
2
Social Research and Methodology, University of Basel, 4051 Basel, Switzerland
3
Visiting Scholar at the Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA
4
Guest Faculty Member at the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN 46556, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3610; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133610
Received: 1 June 2019 / Revised: 13 June 2019 / Accepted: 22 June 2019 / Published: 1 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Corporate Governance and Strategic Management)
In the mid-2000s, China’s environmental crisis had become a major social and political ‘hot spot’. In the interest of civic conciliation, national stability, and performance legitimacy, the Chinese government responded by introducing the ‘Scientific Approach to Development’ as part of the 11th Five-Year Plan in 2005. It signaled a significant policy shift, in which the government reoriented China’s national goals away from ‘Growth First’ policies and toward a model of sustainable development. In this study, we explore how Chinese business leaders reacted to this significant policy change. Specifically, our aim is three-fold: (1) to identify how senior managers and CxOs (executives or owners of enterprises, including CEOs, CFOs, CSOs) of Chinese firms responded to the explicit and systemic introduction of environmental management in the 11th Five-Year Plan; (2) examine motivations and justifications associated with their responses; (3) and explore contexts in which different motivations connected to organizational change and its management. In our study, we examine the perspectives of 72 senior managers and CxOs in China. We find that the integration of environmental management and corporate responsibility policies was predominately driven by national, international, and market contexts, and motivated by instrumental, relational, and moral considerations. We identify complex strategies and implementation plans that transformed government directives into multiple and overlapping business strategies. The main contribution of our study is the identification of specific sets of strategies employed by firms to concurrently comply with government directives and seek profits. Broadly speaking, these environmental management strategies are divided into compliance, a pursuit of competitive advantage, and a structural integration of environmental management. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental protection; environmental management; corporate responsibility; organizational change; business-society nexus; senior managers and CxOs; China; content configuration analysis environmental protection; environmental management; corporate responsibility; organizational change; business-society nexus; senior managers and CxOs; China; content configuration analysis
MDPI and ACS Style

Lau, C.L.L.; Bergman, Z.; Bergman, M.M. Environmental Protection and Corporate Responsibility: The Perspectives of Senior Managers and CxOs in China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3610. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133610

AMA Style

Lau CLL, Bergman Z, Bergman MM. Environmental Protection and Corporate Responsibility: The Perspectives of Senior Managers and CxOs in China. Sustainability. 2019; 11(13):3610. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133610

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lau, Cubie L.L.; Bergman, Zinette; Bergman, Manfred M. 2019. "Environmental Protection and Corporate Responsibility: The Perspectives of Senior Managers and CxOs in China" Sustainability 11, no. 13: 3610. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133610

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