The Adoption of Voluntary Environmental Management Programs in Mexico: First Movers as Institutional Entrepreneurs

Journal of Business Ethics 88 (S2):349 - 363 (2009)


This article analyzes the adoption of voluntary environmental management programs by firms operating in Mexico. Mexican firms can obtain national certification (Clean Industry) and/or international certification (ISO 14001). Based on institutional entrepreneurship theory, we posit that the role played by first movers as institutional entrepreneurs is crucial if these programs are to become established with sufficient strength and appeal. This understanding is especially important in an environment where more than one program can be adopted. We tested several hypotheses on the behaviors of 1328 facilities operating in Mexico, half of which (664) had certified environmental management programs. Of the 664 certified facilities, 217 were classified as early adopters. Three variables predicted the likelihood of a facility being an early adopter: (1) connected to international market, (2) in the maquila sector, and (3) linked to an industry association that offers free resources

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