Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Moore School of Business

Sub-Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

Manoj R Malhotra

Abstract

Operations-related research in environmental management has its roots in pollution control and regulatory compliance going back to the 1950s. Formalization of this movement came with the creation of the environmental management system or ISO 14001 in 1994. Today because of the issues and concerns over the depletion of natural resources, global warming, water pollutants and hazardous waste; the environmental focus has now become more valuable and significant to researchers. This dissertation is focused on examining how environmental management system and environmental supply chain practices can be enhanced for better performance by other internally-driven managerial actions and programs. In particular, it is hypothesized that complementary assets and capabilities, such as quality practices, just-in-time practices and flexibility will positively moderate the relationship between environmental practices and environmental as well as operational performance. Using a survey based methodology; data is collected from 246 US firms from a diverse set of industries. Using rigorous multivariate statistics and regression techniques, we first confirm that sound environment based systems and supply chain practices do indeed enhance performance. Furthermore, our research findings suggest that quality practices significantly moderate environmental practices for both environmental and operational performance. In contrast, preventive maintenance and volume and worker flexibility were found to only moderate environmental practices and environmental performance. Only quality practices were found to moderate both environmental supply chain practices and operational practices.

The recommendations emerging from this research take the extant research a step further by explaining why in many firms the usage of environmental practices have limited outcomes. Investments in other organizational practices like quality programs, preventive maintenance, and resource flexibility are also needed to promote higher effectiveness. It specifically attempts to investigate, analyze and expand on Reinhardt's (1998) position that "instead of asking whether it pays to be green, we ought to be asking about the circumstances under which it might pay." This research therefore has widespread implications beyond those industry sectors where the impacts are "clear and for all to see" such as chemicals and waste treatment.

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