What firm resources and capabilities allow “green” technology investments to pay off? Evidence from a quantitative empirical study in the Dutch manufacturing industry.

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Firms nowadays invest in “new-resource and energy-saving technologies” to lower the negative environmental impacts of their operations. While the literature traditionally assumed a positive effect of these investments on firm economic performance, studies over the years have shown that this is not always the case. Moreover, the literature traditionally focused on a more autonomous link, without accounting for organizational factors that possibly moderate this relationship. This research focuses on the subcategories of a firm’s intellectual capital: human-, social- and organizational capital. The study is carried out through a quantitative research method (i.e. MRA), focused on the Dutch manufacturing industry. The results indicate that no autonomous relationship between green technology investments and firm economic performance exists directly or indirectly via operational efficiency (i.e. energy consumption). Only human capital is found to moderate the direct link between these investments and production costs, while no moderating role of these organizational resources is found for the indirect link. The resources in conjunction do show a moderating effect regarding energy consumption, however, the size of this effect is hard to specify. The most interesting finding is that organizational capital, while showing no moderating effect, appears to reduce both a firm’s energy consumption and production costs.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen