The regulatory and cultural interface in CEM/CER research: the Yin and Yang holistic approach
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Mainstream accounting and management research have predominantly been reflecting and producing the yang (‘hard-core’ quantitative) orientation, without a balancing of the yin (‘soft’ qualitative) methodology. A harmonious ‘both/and’ approach (yin and yang), rather than an ‘either/or’ one captures the rational/regulatory and relational/interpretive aspects of corporate environmental management (CEM) and reporting (CER). Whilst we are in sympathy with the commensurability and pluralist debate (Weaver and Gioia 1994, Schultz and Hatch (1996), for this study we adopted an interpretive, phenomenological and grounded approach. The aim of this paper is to illuminate methodological issues by reference to the study of the ‘greening’ phenomena of CEM and CER in Shanghai, China. The data supported the idea that those seeking compliance to environmental rules and procedures, may need to embrace the paradox of rules not only as generalized but also contextual entities. It appears from this qualitative data that the rules and regulations go through a cultural lens before reaching individuals who have to implement them.