Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Be(Com)ing Green: How Does Organizational Structure and Behavior Shape Corporate Environmental Management?

EPA Grant Number: U915409
Title: Be(Com)ing Green: How Does Organizational Structure and Behavior Shape Corporate Environmental Management?
Investigators: Howard, Jennifer A.
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Edwards, Jason
Project Period: January 1, 1998 through January 1, 2001
Project Amount: $66,587
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1998)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Economics and Decision Sciences , Fellowship - Economics and Business



The objective of this research project is to understand the role of organizational structure and behavior in promoting or inhibiting the pursuit of environmental goals in a manufacturing company by examining how environmental issues are surfaced, articulated, analyzed, and acted on.


This research project is informed by an assumption that the social meaning, organizational legitimacy, and effectiveness of environmental management practices are created and sustained by daily action. The methodology used to study such local, cultural phenomenon derives from anthropology and is known as ethnography. The ethnographic method is increasingly being used to study the culture and structures of organizations from the "inside out." Ethnographic studies of organizations typically involve participant observation, in-depth interviews, document analysis, and other techniques that help the researcher reconstruct the reality of organizational life as it appears to its members.

I used participant observations and indepth interviews to develop an understanding of how people raise environmental issues, justify their importance, and implement solutions at a major U.S. semiconductor manufacturer. I spent 9 months working as a student intern with a group formed to address environmental considerations associated with next-generation production technology. Notes taken during my time with the company form the bulk of my data, and I currently am analyzing this data for recurrent and significant themes. My research project will provide a detailed picture—based on these themes—of the company's lived experience of environmental management, an analysis that is sorely missing from the current literature on organizations and environmental management.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, environmental management practices, organizational behavior, manufacturing, culture, ethnography., Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Corporate Performance, Economics and Business, Social Science, information dissemination, manufacturing company, organizational structure, environmental behavior, management participation, corporate culture, corporate environmental behavior

Top of Page

The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

Jump to main content.