We applied institutional theory to examine the effect of differences in institutional pressures on strategic decisions of …. Greenpeace, in its fight to stop the use of genetically-modified organisms.
The formal institutional environment was in transition in [Europe] during the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, while it was stable in the US. Regulation in the US is based on scientific rationality principles, limiting the scope of risk assessment and requiring the participants to possess scientific expertise of GM products.
In Europe, the regulatory process changed from a scientific rationality to a social rationality approach that is open to input from all stakeholders and considers a broad scope of risk factors, including social ones. This transition allowed for speculative risk as well as scientific evidence to be considered. The formal institutional environment in the EU is now more favorably inclined to influence by civil society …. and the social rationality approach to regulation.
The EU approach not only encourages participation by non-profits, such as Greenpeace, but also lets them affect public policy decisions directly. In the United States, non-profits are not formally included in the regulatory decision-making process, although they can …. submit comments to such bodies as the FDA or the EPA on proposed regulations. Hence, non-profits have limited power to affect public opinion and firms directly ….