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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Brodie Boland

Boland , Brodie

Brodie Boland
Case Western Reserve University Not only laggards: Small firms as a vanguard for ecological sustainability innovation

boland.brodie@gmail.ca

Brodie is currently a third-year doctoral student in Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University. His research focuses on ecological sustainability, and particularly green technology innovation and sustainability-focused orchestrated social movements. He is also conducting research on how individuals construct meaningful work through participation in such social movements. Prior to academia, Brodie was a consultant in the Toronto office of McKinsey & Company, and served as President of AIESEC International. He has traveled to and worked in over forty countries, and is an avid rock climber.

Not only laggards: Small firms as a vanguard for ecological sustainability innovation

Extensive research suggests that increased institutional pressures and more resources make larger firms more sustainable. In this study, we hypothesize that the reduced pressures facing smaller firms may allow positive environmental deviance, and that smaller firms have greater incentives to create disruptive innovation. We test these hypotheses using a combination of patent, financial, and green technology classification sources. Results show that while larger firms create more disruptive non-green technology innovations, smaller firms create more disruptive green technology innovations. These results challenge and extend existing theories of the positive relationship between environmental sustainability and firm size. The results also indicate that green technology may be considered inherently disruptive by larger firms.