Motives and Effects of Quality and Environmental Standards : micro-econometric Analyses of French Firms and Employees

Abstract : The scope and magnitude of changes occurring in business today has led to great interest in and widespread adoption of Quality and Environmental Management approaches. However, despite their prevalence, efforts at understanding the motives for their adoption, as well as their effects on firm and employee outcomes, are still in their infancy. This PhD dissertation provides useful theoretical and empirical contributions to three research topics dealing with Quality and Environmental Management approaches in the French institutional framework: (1) the determinants of their adoption, (2) their impact on firm outcomes and (3) their impact on employee outcomes. These three aspects make up the three parts of this PhD thesis.In part I, we define and characterise quality and environmental approaches with a special focus on ISO 9000 Quality Management standards and ISO 14000 Environmental Management standards. Furthermore, we empirically examine the determinants of quality and environmental standards adoption. Our findings reveal that the determinants of quality standards significantly differ between manufacturing and service firms, particularly when we examine features of the internal strategy of those firms (quality improvement, cost reduction and innovation). However, we have also obtained evidence which indicates that the characteristics of firms (firm size, corporate status and previous experience with similar standards) and features of their external strategy (export levels and customer satisfaction) play a significant role in quality standards adoption across both the manufacturing and service sectors. Moreover, we empirically investigate the determinants of chemical firms' registration for the ISO 14001 standard or the Responsible Care program. We show that most determinants are different for the two systems analysed: while firm size, previous experience with similar standards, information disclosure requirements and customer location are major determinants of ISO 14001 standard registration, regulatory pressure, past environmental problems and future risks are the main drivers of Responsible Care registration.In part II, we empirically investigate whether quality and environmental standards are related to better firm performance using various sets of performance measures. The evidence indicates that quality standards positively influence turnover and specific indicators of innovation performance and productivity, but have no impact on profit and some other innovation performance measures. Based on our empirical findings, we conclude that while environmental standards improve turnover and recruitment of both professional and non professional employees, they have no effect on profit. Moreover, the research shows that implementing both quality and environmental standards is likely to better enhance firm outcomes than implementing only one standard.Part III is focused on the effect of quality and environmental standards on employee outcomes. The estimation results show that quality standards increase the risk of employee accidents although more specifically they are ineffective on working accidents that lead to sick leave. On the other hand, our results lead to the conclusion that environmental standards add significantly to the enhancement of working conditions, via the reduction of accidents. Furthermore, the obtained evidence shows that environmental standards seem to improve employee well-being. More precisely, employees working for firms that are certified for an environmental standard report greater feelings of usefulness about their job and declare that they are more often fairly valued in their jobs. The evidence also shows that employees working for environmentally certified firms do not claim to be significantly more involved in their job but they are more likely, ceteris paribus, to work uncompensated for sup plementary work hours than “non green workers”.
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Sanja Pekovic. Motives and Effects of Quality and Environmental Standards : micro-econometric Analyses of French Firms and Employees. Economies and finances. Université Paris-Est, 2010. English. ⟨NNT : 2010PEST3007⟩. ⟨tel-00592480⟩

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