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Organizational Behavior, Third Edition by Adrienne Colella, C. Chet Miller, Michael A. Hitt

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Chapter 8. Leadership

Exploring Behavior in Action: Maria Yee and the Green Furniture Revolution

Anumber of issues confront the global furniture industry. Perhaps the most important of these is the loss of hard-wood forests in many parts of the world. This loss threatens the supply of raw materials for furniture makers, and it also affects the air-cleansing capacity of the earth's tree stock and the potential for rainfall downwind of lost timberland. In addition, toxic lacquers and adhesives are commonplace in furniture manufacturing. Ethylene oxide is one example. Problematic fabric-embedded chemicals are ubiquitous as well, including perfluorooctanoic acid for stain and water resistance as well as decabromodiphenyl ether for flame retardation.

To combat these problems, a number of forward-thinking entrepreneurs have worked on green (i.e., sustainable) technologies for high-quality furniture materials and manufacturing. Their work, however, has been an uphill struggle. Hardwoods from sustainable sources are not always easy to find. Alternatives to traditional hardwoods, such as bamboo, can be difficult to transform into attractive, durable tables, chairs, and dressers. Alternatives to traditional adhesives can be challenging to develop. Safe and easy-to-produce compounds offering important flame-retardant qualities are not readily available. Perhaps most difficult, the costs of green technologies are typically greater than traditional methods, and consumers are not necessarily ready ...

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