Business innovation and regulatory enforcement: case studies of the big box retail industry and enforcement of RCRA

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Title: Business innovation and regulatory enforcement: case studies of the big box retail industry and enforcement of RCRA
Author: Guard, Misty Ann
Abstract: The purpose of this research is to examine the following research question: how has enforcement of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) adapted to the Big Box business system innovation? Additionally, the study explored the possible nature of regulatory choke points that may emerge from the enforcement of RCRA in the Big Box retail system. This study used contingency theory to establish a foundation for analysis of the Big Box business system innovation through identification of structural elements, external influences, and their subsequent interactions associated with the Big Box retail system in terms of environmental compliance with the RCRA enforced by the United States (US) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This research employed an embedded comparative case study design using the comparison of two Big Box firms, Walmart Stores, Inc. and Target Corporation, nationally and for the following states with opposing enforcement strategies: Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, and Texas. The data used was obtained from third-party federal or firm-maintained sources. Findings indicate Walmart adheres to the structural models developed using contingency theory principles and incurs more impacts from regulatory agencies due to the enforcement of RCRA. Furthermore, it was observed that inspections of the firms are not distributed throughout the organizational structural elements by all states. Additionally, the use of different enforcement strategies resulted in the emergence of regulatory choke points by Arizona, Kentucky, and Texas; however, Missouri appears to balance enforcement without causing a regulatory choke point. This research has identified that the enforcement of RCRA has not universally adapted to the demands of the Big Box business system innovation. Agency implications, firm implications, directions for further research, and continued development of a regulatory choke point theory are discussed.
Type: Thesis
Date: 2010-04-15
Publisher: Georgia Institute of Technology
Subject: Walmart
Hazardous waste
Big box
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Universal waste
Contingency theory
Business innovation
Environmental Protection Agency
Retail industry
Choke points
Regulatory choke points
Low enforcement
High enforcement
Discount houses (Retail trade)
United States. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976
Conservation of natural resources United States
Department: Public Policy
Advisor: Committee Chair: Kingsley, Gordon; Committee Member: Barke, Richard; Committee Member: Breznitz, Shiri
Degree: M.S.

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