Title: Organisational characteristics as determinants of the level of institutional stakeholder pressure for sustainable development in the natural gas exploration and production industry

Authors: Simon Hauser

Addresses: School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Elizabethtown College, One Alpha Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022, USA

Abstract: This study of the shale gas production industry in the North-Eastern USA empirically tests the role organisational characteristics, such as firm environmental record and public visibility, play in influencing the level of pressure placed on these firms by institutional stakeholders for a more sustainable approach to their development activities. To my knowledge, no prior study explored the role of these organisational characteristics; their influence has so far only been stipulated in theoretical arguments in the organisational business literature. The research design integrates data obtained from company databases, publicly available firm documents and websites, violations data, as well as online regional news sources. Findings indicate that publicly reported environmental indiscretions as well as increased public visibility lead companies to more broadly recognise institutional stakeholders including non-governmental organisations (NGOs), regulators, the media, industry groups, competitors and local communities. However, a somewhat unexpected result was that companies with fewer regulatory violations acknowledge more institutional stakeholders.

Keywords: stakeholder influence; organisational characteristics; institutional theory; natural gas exploration; natural gas production; shale gas industry; firm environmental record; environmental violations; regulatory violations; public visibility; sustainability; sustainable development; institutional stakeholders; stakeholder pressure; sustainable strategic management; USA; United States.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSSM.2014.070845

International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management, 2014 Vol.4 No.4, pp.309 - 325

Received: 23 Jun 2014
Accepted: 21 Nov 2014

Published online: 30 Jul 2015 *

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