Strengthening sociological perspectives on organizations and the environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Environmental and organizational sociologists have engaged with the growing interdisciplinary study of formal organizations and their natural environment to varying extents, but to date there has been little interaction between the two sociological subdisciplines. Environmental sociology has developed strong understandings of human-environment interactions, how to study them, and political economic systems of environmental destruction and improvement. Meanwhile, organizational sociology provides insights on internal and external drivers of governmental agency, business, and social movement organizational decision making. In an effort to strengthen our sociological understandings of organizational and interorganizational processes that contribute to environmental harm and improvement, this article identifies five synthetic propositions that emerge from these bodies of knowledge: (a) no organization is an island-socially or ecologically, (b) environmental claims require environmental evidence, (c) corporate environmental actions vary and are context dependent, (d) organizational cooperation and cooptation are two sides of the same coin, and (e) cumulative environmental impacts of organizational change are constrained by system tendencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-292
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization and Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Ecological modernization
  • Environment
  • Inter-organizational relations
  • Organizations
  • Sociology
  • Treadmill of production

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