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Multinational enterprises, local firms, and employee human rights violation in the workplace: Evidence from Mexico

Ana Colovic (NEOMA Business School, Mont Saint Aignan, France)
Octavio R. Escobar (Department of Economics and Finance, Paris School of Business, Paris, France)
Olivier Lamotte (Paris School of Business, Paris, France)
Pierre-Xavier Meschi (IAE Aix-Marseille, CERGAM, Aix-Marseille Université, Chemin de la Quille, France and Skema Business School, Lille, France)

Multinational Business Review

ISSN: 1525-383X

Article publication date: 26 September 2018

Issue publication date: 10 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate whether multinational enterprises (MNEs) are more or less likely than local firms to violate their employees’ human rights in emerging economies, whether regional institutional pressures influence the likelihood of violating employee human rights and whether the density of MNEs in a region affects the likelihood of employees’ human rights violation by local firms.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on neo-institutional theory, this paper hypothesizes that, in an emerging economy, MNEs violate their employees’ human rights significantly less than local firms do. Moreover, it is hypothesized that the quality of regional institutions only influences the social behavior of local firms toward their employees. In addition, it is hypothesized that the density of MNEs in a region has a positive effect on local firms’ attitudes toward employee human rights. These hypotheses are examined using a sample of 1,211,638 respondent–year observations in 32 Mexican regions between 2005 and 2014.

Findings

This paper shows that MNEs are less likely to violate their employees’ human rights than local firms are. It also provides evidence that regional institutions do not influence MNE behavior toward employee human rights violation, but affect local firms. Furthermore, contrary to what was hypothesized, the density of MNEs in a region has a negative rather than positive influence on local firms’ respect of employee human rights.

Originality/value

This paper advances understanding of the behavior of MNEs in an emerging economy setting and contributes to the ongoing debate in the literature on their social impact.

Keywords

Citation

Colovic, A., Escobar, O.R., Lamotte, O. and Meschi, P.-X. (2019), "Multinational enterprises, local firms, and employee human rights violation in the workplace: Evidence from Mexico", Multinational Business Review, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 247-265. https://doi.org/10.1108/MBR-06-2017-0037

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited