Purpose Despite touting the value of green practices, many firms struggle to respond appropriately to the diverse environmental issues. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the external and internal pressures interplay to influence top management championship, which, in turn, fosters the company's green culture and the adoption of green practices. It thus helps to explain Chinese firms' diversity with respect to the adoption of green practices.
Design/methodology/approach A conceptual model is developed that summarizes the interplay of external and internal pressures, top management championship, green culture and the adoption of green practices. Data from 148 Chinese manufacturing firms were collected and a structural equation model was used for statistical analysis.
Findings Government policy that provides incentives to adopt green practices and overseas customers' green demand has significant positive influences on top management championship, while resources pressure has a significant negative effect. Government command and control policy, domestic customers' green demand and organizational inertia do not impact top management championship. Furthermore, top management championship is positively correlated to both green culture and green practices, and green culture contributes to implementing green practices.
Practical implications The findings help us understand which external and internal factors inspire or force top management to adopt green practices, and how they do so. Moreover, managers must also be aware of the bridging role of green culture. The findings will be valuable to policy makers in forming and enforcing stick or carrot environmental policies.
Originality/value Leveraging a multi-theoretic approach, the authors' research builds on insights from the institutional theory, natural resource-based view (NRBV) and upper echelons perspective, so as to increase the authors' understanding on how firms adopt green practices to respond to environmental sustainability pressures. The institutional theory and the NRBV are leveraged in this study to recognize that firms perceive not only external institutional pressure for environmental management but also the internal pressure from resource constraints and capability to change. Upper echelons perspective is integrated into this study to explain the leadership role that top management serves in the management of the organization's response to dynamic changes in the institutional environment and cultivate green culture within organization.
Top management championship