Why do Firms Differ? A Resource-Based and Institutional Response of Multinational Corporations under Sustainable Development Pressures

Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society 17:189-194 (2006)
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Sustainable development has been framed as a social issue to which corporations must pay attention because it offers both opportunities and challenges.Although scholars in the environmental strategy field have found that the integration of business and sustainable development can result in competitive advantage, international business scholars argue that it does not increase industrial performance. To integrate these research streams, this paper builds upon the institutional theory attempt to understand strategic options of major multinational corporations (MNCs) that are experiencing sustainable development pressures. This paper also examines the resourcebased view of the firm to understand different patterns of distinctive capabilities that may explain differences in corporate strategies among MNCs experiencing similar institutional pressures. We argue that normative and coercive isomorphism does not occur at the global level because sustainable development is largely a stakeholder-driven issue rather than a broad social issue. However, mimetic isomorphism has explanatorypotential, but since it implies the use of complex and intangible resources, mimetic processes are slow and rare.



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