Influences on Sustainable Innovation Adoption: Evidence from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design


Jeffrey Gauthier, Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 121 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.



The adoption of innovations associated with environmental sustainability has been a topic of growing interest among scholars. The research presented in this paper draws on Abrahamson's theoretical framework of fads and fashions to argue that dimensions of uncertainty and degree of external versus internal influence provide significant insights into firms' decisions to adopt sustainable building innovations. We develop three hypotheses, reflecting three views of adoption influence: fad, fashion, and efficient-choice. We find that adoption of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification in the United States was more likely among firms similarly oriented toward end-consumers and among firms strategically positioned as environmental leaders. These results provide support for the fad and efficient-choice views of adoption, respectively. Contrary to expectations suggested by the fashion perspective, adoption was not more likely among firms located in states whose political leaders are more committed to environmental protection. Our findings offer important implications for practitioners and policy makers seeking to encourage sustainable building design. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.