Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Business Administration



First Advisor

Clay Dibrell

Second Advisor

Shane Moser

Third Advisor

Samantha Fairclough

Relational Format



Increased public attention to environmental disasters is reducing the likelihood firms can ascribe the consequential damages of stakeholders to "acts of Nature". This phenomenon indicates that the absence of top management team (TMT) attention to natural environmental issues leads a firm to control-reducing and likely-loss threats, but less is known about whether firms engage in environmental actions in response to technological disasters and why some firms actively undertake environmental action, while others do not. Drawing on the attention-based view, I propose that technological disasters that happen in a focal firm's affiliated industry cause a TMT to increase a firm's environmental action, as mediated by the increased concerns and confidence about natural environmental issues. Using 10-year panel data, I found that TMT attention to the environmental issues was a key cognitive instrument that links technological disasters and a firm's protective environmental actions. Furthermore, family influence and outside directors play critical roles in influencing a TMT to reframe its sensitive cognitive map on a technological disaster, and thus, to sense the signals from technological disasters in a strategic perspective. My findings contribute to research on the attention-based view by applying the view to the natural environmental context, exploring a possible mediating effect of TMT attention between technological disasters and a firm's environmental actions, and empirically testing conditional effects that will enhance TMT attention and environmental actions. Providing the framework of how firms become environmentally responsible, I will discuss some insights into how firms adjust themselves to fit stakeholders' expectations.


Emphasis: Management



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