The effects of simmelian ties on innovation of low-carbon technology: a study of top managers' environmental awareness and stakeholder pressure in China.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2023 Jan; 30(3):6716-6729.ES
Low-carbon technology innovation (LTI) engenders environmental protection and socioeconomic development. Hence, low-carbon innovation of enterprises becomes a crucial policy arena for national development and climate mitigation strategy. LTI is now associated with enhanced reputation and competitive edge of enterprises. We constructed a framework to empirically explore the impact of simmelian ties (ST) on LTI, testing the moderating effect of stakeholder pressure in this relationship. We used a sample of 385 employees from industrial enterprises in China through a structured questionnaire. The study results show that: first, when the enterprise is in a strong ST, the top managers' awareness of environmental benefits has a significant positive impact on LTI. Second, when the enterprise is in a weak ST, top managers' awareness of environmental risk has a significant positive impact on LTI. Third, pressure of key stakeholders and pressure of secondary stakeholders positively moderate the interaction between ST and top managers' environmental awareness (TMEA) on the impact of LTI. Fourth, the moderating effect of key stakeholders' pressure was observed to be stronger than that of secondary stakeholders' pressure. Theoretically, this paper contributes to literature by developing a framework to investigate interaction between ST, TMEA and LTI under different stakeholder pressures. Based on this framework, we provide a theoretical reference for enterprises to choose the appropriate and optimal TMEA for competitive edge.