Marketing Faculty Publications and Presentations

Activating Corporate Environmental Ethics on the Frontline: A Natural Resource-Based View

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Corporate environmental ethics has moved from a niche issue within business strategy to a potential source of competitive advantage. Firms, however, are comprised of individuals who vary in their personal beliefs regarding environmental responsibility. Environmental stewards are those employees whose attitudes and actions reflect environmental concern. Top management can convey similar environmental values through the creation of eco-capabilities. Applying logic from the natural resource-based view of the firm, we build a model to test how the alignment of environmental values impacts multiple outcomes. We conduct a time-lagged examination using multi-level data from frontline employees, their managers, and their customers. We find that firms can ‘activate’ their corporate environmental ethics through eco-capabilities. Specifically, environmental stewards find more meaning in their work when managers perceive high levels of eco-capabilities within the firm. This meaningful work increases employee brand advocacy and customer satisfaction. Together, we demonstrate how corporate environmental ethics translates to the frontline and the customers they serve.


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Journal of Business Ethics