On the implementation of a 'global' environmental strategy: the role of absorptive capacity

Jonatan Pinkse, Matthias Kuss, Volker Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper sheds light on factors influencing to what extent MNCs are able to implement a global environmental strategy. We apply the concept of absorptive capacity to analyze what role the uptake and integration of external knowledge plays in implementing an environmental strategy and propose to make a distinction between shared and unit-specific levels of absorptive capacity. Based on an in-depth investigation of the multinational chemical company BASF, we derive three propositions about the influence of absorptive capacity on the implementation of global environmental practices on the regional headquarters and subsidiary level. The main finding is that a shared level of absorptive capacity across subsidiaries facilitates a common understanding and use of environment-related knowledge, but, as environment-related knowledge often applies to a specific context only, there is also a need to build unit-specific absorptive capacity on a subsidiary level. By allowing subsidiaries to build their absorptive capacity, MNCs can more efficiently adapt global environmental practices and lower the cost of implementing a global environmental standard.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-177
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute of Innovation Research


Dive into the research topics of 'On the implementation of a 'global' environmental strategy: the role of absorptive capacity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this