Why do Firms Participate in Voluntary Environmental Programs? A Meta-Analysis of the Role of Institutions, Resources and Program Stringency

Forthcoming at Organization & Environment

46 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021

See all articles by Pete Tashman

Pete Tashman

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Svetlana Flankova

University of St. Gallen

Marc van Essen

University of South Carolina - Darla Moore School of Business; University of South Carolina - Darla Moore School of Business

Valentina Marano

Northeastern University - D'Amore-McKim School of Business, Department of International Business & Strategy

Date Written: January 6, 2021

Abstract

We meta-analyze research on why firms join voluntary environmental programs (VEP) to assess the impact of program stringency, or the extent to which they have rigorous, enforceable standards on these decisions. Stringency creates trade-offs for firms by impacting programs’ effectiveness, legitimacy, and adoption costs. Most research consider singular programs and lack cross program variation needed to analyze program stringency’s impact. Our meta-analysis addresses this by sampling 127 studies and 23 VEPs. We begin by identifying common institutional and resource-based drivers of participation in the literature, and then analyze how program stringency moderates their impacts. Our results suggest that strictly governed VEPs encourage participation among highly visible and profitable firms, and discourage it when informal institutional pressures are higher, and firms have prior experience with other VEPs or quality management standards. We demonstrate that VEP stringency has nuanced effects on firm participation based on the institutional and resource-based factors facing them.

Keywords: voluntary environmental programs, meta-analysis, institutional theory, resource-based view

Suggested Citation

Tashman, Peter and Flankova, Svetlana and Essen, Marc van and Essen, Marc van and Marano, Valentina, Why do Firms Participate in Voluntary Environmental Programs? A Meta-Analysis of the Role of Institutions, Resources and Program Stringency (January 6, 2021). Forthcoming at Organization & Environment, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3761255

Peter Tashman (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts Lowell ( email )

1 University Ave.
Lowell, MA 01854
United States

Svetlana Flankova

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Bodanstrasse 8
SIAW-HSG
St.Gallen, 9000
Switzerland

Marc van Essen

University of South Carolina - Darla Moore School of Business ( email )

1705 College St
Francis M. Hipp Building
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

University of South Carolina - Darla Moore School of Business ( email )

1705 College St
Francis M. Hipp Building
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Valentina Marano

Northeastern University - D'Amore-McKim School of Business, Department of International Business & Strategy ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States

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