Open Access
Protpakorn, Ruthairat
Graduate Program:
Forest Resources
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 29, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Judd Harrison Michael, Dissertation Advisor
  • Judd Harrison Michael, Committee Chair
  • Paul Michael Smith, Committee Member
  • Nicole Robitaille Brown, Committee Member
  • Timothy Grant Pollock, Committee Member
  • Corporate Environmentalism
  • Institutional Theory
  • RBV
  • Sustainability
  • Forest Products Industry
While previous research on organizations and the natural environment provides a rationale for general corporate environmental responses, questions remain regarding why firms facing similar institutional pressures respond differently to environmental issues. On one hand, organizations have control over their corporate strategies. Firms can utilize their resources and capabilities to gain a competitive advantage. On the other hand, firms' flexibility of action is limited by external forces. I argue that the differences in firms' resources and capabilities affect the extent to which firms integrate environmental issues into their planning processes and strategies. The awareness, sense-making, and perceptions of social phenomena, in this case the green building movement, also create social framing that influences how firms respond and react to environmental issues. In sum, this research offers a more comprehensive examination of the resource-based view (RBV) and institutional perspectives in the context of business and the environment. A field study was employed to investigate how organizations respond to environmental issues from the perspectives of a resource-based view and institutional theory. A quantitative research method was employed in this study. A web-based survey was used to investigate the phenomenon of corporate environmentalism within firms. Knowing more about the resources and capabilities of firms and about the institutional pressures relative to corporate environmentalism could help firms formulate and integrate environmental initiatives into their strategies. This study can also benefit the broader research domain of business and the natural environment by providing insight into what factors contribute to perceptions surrounding corporate environmentalism in organizations. This research provides three key contributions. First, the research aims to provide a more comprehensive examination of how the institutionalization of environmental practices and standards originated by the green building movement leads to changes in organizational forms and structures. This extends institutional theory from an environmental perspective. Second, this research aims to provide a better understanding of how firms' resources and capabilities as well as the institutional pressures they face affect changes in firms' corporate environmentalism. The argument presented by this key contribution is that both resource-based and institutional factors, as well as the relationship between them, affect firms' corporate environmentalism. Third, the empirical results of this study provide pragmatic answers to key questions surrounding the fast-growing “green-certified” residential building industry. This research is cross-disciplinary, bridging three disciplines: management and organization theory, sustainable development, and forest products. The domain of forest products serves as the context of the investigation, while theoretical arguments are drawn from the research domains of management and organization theory as well as business and sustainable development. In addition, practical implications are drawn from green building programs and the residential housing value chain. The desired outcome of this research is to contribute to all three research domains by providing publishable works for journals in those fields.