The diffusion of environmental management system and its effect on environmental management practices

Daniel Prajogo, Ailie K.Y. Tang, Kee Hung Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the diffusion of ISO 14001-based environmental management system (EMS) on five key organisational functions, namely production, procurement, sales, logistics, and RandD. In examining the EMS diffusion, this paper focuses on two aspects of diffusion: the extent of diffusion of EMS and the balance of EMS diffusion across the five organisational functions. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected from 286 companies in Australia which were certified to ISO 14001. The respondents are personnel in the company who hold responsibility in managing the EMS. Findings: The results show that the extent of diffusion of EMS has a positive effect on green products, green processes, and green supply chain management. In addition, diffusion variation (imbalance) has a negative effect on green product and green supply chain management. This study demonstrates the importance of both the depth and the balanced diffusion of EMS across different organisational functions in driving environmental management practices. Research limitations/implications: The results support the theory of organisational climate which emphasises the importance of both climate level and climate strength. In the context of our study, firms with high both extensive (climate level) and balanced diffusion (climate strength) of EMS will produce better environmental innovations than those which only have climate level. Practical implications: The results provide insights for managers to consider the extent and balance of diffusion of EMS in their organisational functions as an indicator of the implementation of EMS in their organisations. Social implications: The findings imply the need for expanding the scope of collaborations beyond the firm's level, that is from being intra-organisational to inter-organisational by involving supply chain partners (primarily customers and suppliers). When the diffusion of environmental initiatives (including ISO 14001 EMS) can be extended to supply chain partners, the environmental effects will also be significantly larger and wider compared to when it is confined in individual firms. Originality/value: This paper is one of the first to study the extent and balance of diffusion of EMS within organisations and its impact on environmental management practices
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-585
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Diffusion
  • Environmental management
  • Environmental management practices
  • ISO 14001
  • New product design
  • Process design
  • Supply chain management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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