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The Investigation of CEO Leadership Style as a Driver of Greenwashing and a Case Study Analysis to Provide Empirical Evidence for the Delmas and Burbano’s Drivers to Greenwashing Framework

Title:

The Investigation of CEO Leadership Style as a Driver of Greenwashing and a Case Study Analysis to Provide Empirical Evidence for the Delmas and Burbano’s Drivers to Greenwashing Framework

Alarie, Catherine (2017) The Investigation of CEO Leadership Style as a Driver of Greenwashing and a Case Study Analysis to Provide Empirical Evidence for the Delmas and Burbano’s Drivers to Greenwashing Framework. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The growing societal concerns about the environment have led to major changes in the marketplace not only terms of products and services but also in terms of strategies and marketing campaigns as organizations attempt to match new stakeholders’ needs (Furlow, 2010). Unfortunately, lax regulations and policies have opened the door to a new kind of manipulative strategy (Archambeault, DeZoort & Holt, 2008; Delmas & Burbano, 2011; Hahn & Lülfs, 2014) which is refining over the years and is becoming harder to uncover: Greenwashing (Bowen & Aragon-Correra, 2014). It has yet to be further investigated as it remains challenging to define and measure (Bowens Aragon-Correra, 2014).

Several studies focus on determining the ways in which Greenwashing occurs and its outcomes on firms and stakeholders. The mechanisms behind Greenwashing, or its drivers, have yet to be better explored and understood Delmas & Burbano, 2011).

The objective of the following research is two-fold. First, the author aims to expand on the existing Drivers of Greenwashing framework (from Delmas & Burbano, 2011) by investigating CEO leadership style as a driver to Greenwashing. To do so, four leadership styles (narcissistic, transactional, transformational and authentic) are presented and assessed. It is suggested that CEO leadership style will influence an organization’s propensity to Greenwash. Secondly, the author attempts to provide empirical support for the Drivers to Greenwashing Framework (from Delmas & Burbano, 2011) as to the author’s knowledge, it only has been conceptually determined.

A list of the top 10 Greenwashing firms in America (24/7 Wall Street, 2009) was used to objectively determine the corporations under investigation. Using the zero-acquaintance approach, archival data (such as videos, interviews, etc.) were used to assess the leadership style of the 10 CEOs at the head of Greenwashing companies. Descriptive statistics were used to compare CEOs. Then, in-depth case analyses were conducted to provide empirical support to Delmas and Burbano’s framework. Letters to shareholders and annual reports were the primary source of information to determine the corporations’ drivers to Greenwash.

Partially due to the small sample size, results do not illustrate a clear pattern concerning the potential influence of CEO leadership styles on an organization’s propensity to use Greenwashing strategies. On the other hand, support for 11 out of 12 drivers of Delmas and Burbano’s framework is established, although to varying frequency.

This study fulfills its exploratory purpose and promises to be conceptually insightful by joining two major literature streams: leadership and Greenwashing. This research is expected to trigger inspiration for further studies and to lead to important managerial implications, as Greenwashing is a growing challenge that more and more CEOs will have to face and overcome in the future.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business > Management
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Alarie, Catherine
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Business Administration (Management specialization)
Date:25 January 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Rick, Molz
ID Code:982155
Deposited By: CATHERINE ALARIE
Deposited On:09 Jun 2017 15:36
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:54
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