Zhenyu Gao

Diplômé DBA - 2017

Titre de thèse

The drivers of eco-innovation and its impact on firm performance - an empirical study in China

Superviseur(s)

Jie Yan
Purpose It was observed that there is a trend among Chinese firms to practice the eco-innovation, while the driving mechanism behind the strategy and its impact to firm performance remain unclear. This research attempts to answer two questions: 1. What are the drivers of firms’ adoption of eco-innovation strategy? (2) Does eco-innovation enhance firm performance and, if yes, what is the mechanism behind? The answers to these questions are important for academia, government and business practitioners. Design/methodology/approach This research adopted the quantitative approach. A hypothesis model was developed to explore the driving factors of eco-innovation at institutional, organizational and individual levels. The measurement scales were developed on the base of matured scales published in literatures. A convenience sample was obtained consisting of 208 valid questionnaires. Findings Corresponding to the research questions specified above, two sets of findings were discovered: First, institutional pressures, organizational slack, and top manager’s environmental awareness were proved to have positive influence to eco-innovation, indicating that both external factors and internal resources are important for Chinese firms to adopt eco-innovation strategy. Second, we found that eco-innovation strategy has a positive impact on firm performance. The proved mediation effects show that eco-innovation strategy can improve firms’ resource acquisition and organizational legitimacy, and thus improve firms’ performance. Research limitations There are a few possible limitations related to the empirical study. 1. The convenience sample may bring some bias to the findings. 2. Firm performance was measured by subjective methods. 3. When examining the impact of eco-innovation to firm performance, we only considered two variables, i.e. organizational legitimacy and resource acquisition. It may happen that other organizational factors beyond our study also play some role in the mechanism. Practical implications From policy making perspective, in order to promote eco-innovation, efforts should be made simultaneously on three fronts: top managers, organizational resources, and external institutional environment. From firm perspective, adopting eco-innovation strategy does not guarantee the enhancement of performance. Firms must take actions to exploit the benefit of eco-innovation by improving firms’ organizational legitimacy and acquiring more resources, through which performance could be improved. Originality/value This research is likely among the first attempts to explore the adoption of eco-innovation strategy of Chinese firms with empirical evidence. The integration of institutional, organizational and individual elements into the research model creates a comprehensive understanding of the research matters. Keywords Eco-innovation, slack resources, firm performance, China