Achieving green production within a firm by looking outside An analysis of the influence of external orientation on sustainable technology adoption in manufacturing firms
Failure to act on climate change is one of the most important risks to the world. Industry is a major source of pollution, and firms are failing to respond to the threat in a substantial way. Manufacturing firms are increasingly being held accountable for their decisions regarding sustainability by society and government, and are now being forced to act. An important role for research is to discover which factors in a manufacturing firm might influence sustainable technology adoption. This research explores the effect of external orientation factors on sustainable technology adoption in manufacturing firms. External orientation is becoming a growing topic of interest due to increased globalization, which leads to substantial changes in a firm’s strategy. Data of 169 manufacturing firms from the Dutch European Manufacturing Survey 2015 (EMS) was used to run a multiple regression analysis on the effects of external orientation factors on sustainable technology adoption. In contrast to expectations, export activities, offshoring and backshoring activities, external networking and external participation were found to not have a significant effect. The results did show that the degree of cooperation with firms had a significant positive effect on sustainable technology adoption. Further analysis of categories used in the cooperation with firms variable showed that cooperating with firms in a singular field did not have a significant effect on sustainable technology adoption. These findings suggest that to achieve a higher degree of sustainable technology adoption, managers should focus on cooperating with firms in a multitude of fields, instead of focusing their efforts on a specific field. These results could be due to the fact that manufacturing firms have more access to knowledge and experience by actively cooperating in more fields. Firms that are cooperating with other firms in a multitude of fields might also feel an increasing pressure to uphold to norms and sustainability standards of the other firms.
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