Environmental Sustainability Practices and Exports: The interplay of strategy and institutions in Latin America

Abstract: We integrate institutional economics with stakeholder theory to examine the antecedents and outcomes of Environmental Sustainability Practices (ESP) for small and medium enterprises in Latin America. We find that these firms primarily engage in ESP to succeed in export markets. We also find that this is especially true when firms demonstrate organizational agency by adopting complementary strategies such as obtaining international quality certifications to develop credibility among stakeholders. Lastly, their cause receives a further boost when they are based in institutional environments that are known for strong democratic voice and accountability mechanisms. In elucidating the interplay of strategy and institutions, we suggest the need to better integrate organizational agency into institutional theory and institutional environment into stakeholder theory.