Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 132, Issue 1, pp 105–125 | Cite as

Deepening Understanding of Certification Adoption and Non-Adoption of International-Supplier Ethical Standards

  • Andrea M. Prado
  • Arch G. Woodside


This study presents a theory of causally complex configurations of antecedent conditions influencing the adoption versus non-adoption of international supplier ethical certification-standards. Using objective measures of antecedents and outcomes, a large-scale study of exporting firms in the cut-flower industry in two South American countries (Colombia and Ecuador) supports the theory. The theory includes the following and additional propositions. No single (simple)-antecedent condition is sufficient for accurately predicting a high membership score in outcome conditions; the outcome conditions include a firm’s adoption or rejection of a product certification. No single (simple)-antecedent condition is necessary for accurately predicting high scores in the outcome condition. A few complex antecedent conditions (configurations) are sufficient but the occurrence of each is not necessary for accurately predicting high scores (e.g., adoption) in an outcome condition. Causal asymmetry of antecedent conditions indicating adoption versus non-adoption of specific ethical standards occurs—that is, causal conditions leading to rejection are not the mirror opposites of causal conditions leading to adoption.


Adoption Asymmetry Causal recipe Complex antecedent conditions Equifinality Ethical standards Product certification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INCAE Business SchoolAlajuelaCosta Rica
  2. 2.Department of MarketingBoston College, Carroll School of ManagementChestnut HillUSA

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