Proceedings of the International Association for Business and Society

Volume 27, 2016

Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Meeting

Jennifer DeBoer, Rajat Panwar, Jorge Rivera
Pages 58-71

Pristine Neighborhoods, Progressive Neighbors
Toward a Place-Based Understanding of Firms’ Voluntary Environmental Behaviors

Management research has extensively considered who, what, when, why, which, and how aspects pertaining to firms’ proactive environmental strategies, yet where aspects have received remarkably less attention. Building on institutional theory and economic geography, we explore three place-based research questions relating social and physical attributes of a place with a firm’s proactive environmental strategies. We contribute to a better understanding of the role of place in three ways. First, we find that geographic concentration of environmentally proactive firms is positively related to firm commitment in a voluntary environmental program (VEP). Second, we find that firm proximity to a sacrosanct environment is positively related to firm commitment in a VEP. Finally, we integrate these effects and find that social and physical attributes of a place have an interactive effect of firms’ voluntary environmental commitment in a VEP. We address our research questions in the context of the Costa Rican tourism industry.