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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Diffusion, adoption, and implementation of corporate responsibility practices in the forest sector : a proposed framework Vidal, Natalia Giugni


The adoption of Corporate Responsibility practices is of strategic importance for the new social contract that the forest sector is seeking to establish. This sector has been increasingly under pressure to adopt responsible practices and show commitment to sustainability. However, Corporate Responsibility is not an easy concept for companies to implement. Identifying how this concept diffuses to companies, as well as the way forest companies understand and operationalize Corporate Responsibility practices, is an important first step to improve responsible practices in this sector. This dissertation addressed these issues by proposing a framework explaining diffusion, adoption, and implementation of Corporate Responsibility practices in the forest sector. Content analyses of sustainability reports of the largest global forest companies evaluated this sector’s understanding of concept. Grounded theory methodology was then used to develop a framework based on interviews with forest companies, non-governmental organizations, industry associations, and academics in Brazil, Canada, and the United States. Results show that different factors influence the diffusion, adoption, and implementation of Corporate Responsibility practices in forest companies. While external factors influence the diffusion of Corporate Responsibility practices to companies, internal factors influence the adoption and implementation of these practices within companies. Context influences different aspects of these processes by shaping relevant Corporate Responsibility issues and stakeholder demands in varying places of operation. The diffusion, adoption, and implementation of Corporate Responsibility practices are cyclical and interconnected processes that require continuous improvement efforts. These results advance knowledge on diffusion, adoption, and implementation of Corporate Responsibility practices, especially within the forest sector context. The identification of patterns in these processes should facilitate the management of companies’ response processes for responsible and sustainable practices. For organizations interested in advancing the practice of Corporate Responsibility, understanding the diffusion process can help them to identify more effective means of communicating with potential adopters, as well as positively influencing the uptake of more responsible practices.

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