Building upon institutional theory, this paper compares environmental management practices in two similar manufacturing plants that operate in different regulatory contexts. Unlike prior research that separates institutional and technical pressures, we find that environmental management decisions are a reaction to both institutional and technical pressures, which co-exist and even co-construct each other. Environmental managers, serving as boundary spanners, are exposed to these technical and institutional pressures, as well as multiple discourses with institutional fields. In this role, they sometimes act as institutional entrepreneurs, purposefully altering the framing of and discourse about environmental performance. Their strategies depend, in part on their relative power within the organization, the relationship between technical and institutional pressures, and the silence of these pressures.
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