Looking through the Chinese 'lens' of corporate environmental management
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What was once the reign of a 'green' social organisational fringe, Corporate Environmental Management (CEM) has increasingly become a core business strategy. Research studies in this arena have been centred on industrialised nations, and until recently, there are still comparatively sparse empirical studies on CEM for rapidly emerging nations like the People's Republic of China. As the most populous nation on earth with one fifth .of humanity (1.3 billions), China's astounding economic growth and resource consumption (Economist, 2005), provide 'telescoping' lessons in understanding the embracing of CEM in rapidly developing countries. Motivated by China's unique institutional structure and embryonic stage of environmentalism, the goal of this paper is to explore the normative assumptions underpinning the 'greening' phenomenon of corporate management in Shanghai and how business enterprises respond to such challenges. Specifically, this paper presents senior managers' perception of CEM in China. To illustrate the ontological difference of CEM concepts in Shanghai, two case-study enterprises are reported in this paper. Findings from this exploratory in-depth field study demonstrate the tacit nature of CEM lying beneath the regulative institutional structure in Shanghai. On reflection, the environmental paradigms and participants' perceptual realities provided great insights when thinking about the nature of CEM and the corresponding nature of the individuals who are expected to enact and/or comply with environmental regulations and rules.
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