Explicating the microfoundation of SME pro-environmental operations: The role of top-managers

Journal article


Zhao, Li and He, Q. 2022. Explicating the microfoundation of SME pro-environmental operations: The role of top-managers. International Journal of Operations & Production Management. 42 (4), pp. 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-09-2021-0590
AuthorsZhao, Li and He, Q.
Abstract

Purpose
By recognizing the decisive role of top managers (TMs) of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this study attempts to explicate the microfoundation of pro-environmental operations of SMEs by examining the influence of institutional pressure on managerial cognition and subsequent SME pro-environmental operations. This study highlights the personal ethics of TMs, so as to examine the moderating effect of TMs' place attachment on SMEs' pro-environmental operations.

Design/methodology/approach
Empirical data are collected from a questionnaire survey of 509 SMEs in China. Hierarchical regression results are subject to cross-validation using secondary public data.

Findings
This study demonstrates that coercive and mimetic pressures have inverted U-shaped effects, whilst normative pressure has a U-shaped effect on the threat cognition of TMs. The results also show that TMs' threat cognition (as opposed to opportunity cognition) positively influences SMEs' pro-environmental operations. Moreover, both the emotional (place identity) and functional (place dependence) dimensions of place attachment have positive moderating effects on the relationship between threat cognition and SMEs' pro-environmental operations.

Practical implications
Findings of this study lead to important implications for practitioners such as regulators, policy makers and trade associations. Enabling better understanding of the nature of SMEs' pro-environmental operations, they allow for more targeted development and the provision of optimal institutional tools to promote such operations.

Originality/value
This study allows some important factors that differentiate SMEs from large firms to surface. These factors (i.e. institutional pressures, managerial cognition and place attachment) and the interactions between them form important constituents of the microfoundations of SMEs' pro-environmental operations.

KeywordsInstitutional pressure; managerial cognition; place attachment; SME; pro-environmental operations
Year2022
JournalInternational Journal of Operations & Production Management
Journal citation42 (4), pp. 1-26
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
ISSN0144-3577
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-09-2021-0590
Web address (URL)http://www.emeraldinsight.com/loi/ijopm
hdl:10545/626320
Output statusPublished
Publication dates01 Mar 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Mar 2022, 15:26
Accepted12 Feb 2022
ContributorsShanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance, China and University of Derby
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