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Beyond Compliance: Uncovering Organizational Aspects of Award-Winning Environmental Performance

Jeff Parkey*
School of Government, College of Law, Government and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia

*Corresponding author; email: jeffrey@uum.edu.my




Effective design and management of environmental regulations requires an understanding of the factors that lead organizations to comply with the environmental rules they face. The regulatory and organizational behavior literatures suggest that firms’ motivation for rule compliance emerges from the instrumental, social, or normbased consequences of complying that the organization perceives. In addition to motives, operational aspects of compliance including organizations’ capacities, knowledge, and technological assets, should also be considered. Understanding the environmental compliance behavior of top performing firms allows regulators to strategically plan their compliance interventions, and also showcases best practices for other regulated fi rms to emulate. Interviews were conducted with facility managers at environmental award-winning facilities in the U.S. state of South Carolina to identify motivational and operational aspects of compliance among top-performers. The findings suggest these organizations’ relations with their communities, customers, and production chains have the greatest influence on their environmental performance. Social pressures for regulatory compliance similar to these also appear in the Southeast Asian context, where “enforcement gaps” are more prevalent. Irrespective of place, environmentally excellent firms set the pace for new regulatory regimes, and can assist both regulators and poorer performers alike.

Keywords : Organizational behavior, regulatory behavior, environmental regulations, compliance, USA, Southeast Asia