Developing and validating an integrated framework explaining pro-environmental behaviour in the workplace

  • Faye Vivian McDonald

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Changing employees’ behaviour to be more environmentally friendly, as a means to increase environmental performance of a business, is a widely accepted strategy in organisations. However,as many organisations can report, it is not always a panacea. Whilst technological solutions are simple and uncomplicated, they are often expensive and, with the continuous increase in resource use, many organisations encourage their employees to adjust their behaviour. Aiming to help organisations understand how employees decide to adopt pro-environmental behaviour, researchers of workplace pro-environmental behaviour have attempted to answer this question through the development of conceptual workplace frameworks and quantitative behavioural analysis. But,despite this contribution this body of research currently suffers from the fact that no systematic effort has been made to establish, which of the multitude of factors within these framework and models have the biggest impact on employee pro-environmental behaviour.

    Thus, the aim of this thesis is to understand the factors that impact pro-environmental behaviour in the workplace by testing an integrated model that encompasses all key variables, that originate from general and workplace pro-environmental literature. The integration of these variables will enable the researcher to draw conclusions on the impact of each variable and therefore confirming the key factors that explain pro-environmental behaviour in the workplace.

    The first stage of this study involved a review of the literature on general and workplace pro-environmental behaviour. Using inductive theory building, this study developed a theoretical framework of pro-environmental behaviour in the workplace; incorporating the findings of the previously reviewed literature. The model consists of intra, inter, motivational and external factors, all of which have potential to impact pro-environmental behaviour in the workplace.

    After having established the theoretical framework, quantitative methods were utilised to test the hypothesised model. An online questionnaire was distributed to a panel with a representative sample of the UK workforce. The questionnaire was further distributed to two higher educational institutions in order to collect additional data that could act as a source of rich detail and aid interpretation of the results from the representative sample. Through statistical analysis, including multiple regression, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling, the final structural model confirmed some of the initial hypothesis. The conclusion drawn is that human behaviour is driven by employee’s confidence in the ability to exert control over their own motivation and behaviour. Employees with high confidence in their own abilities also take responsibility for their actions, particularly if they are aware of environmental issues. It is the workplace’s responsibility to foster this behaviour by creating an environment that encourages work satisfaction and ease of behaviour.
    Date of AwardSept 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorCheryl Rodgers (Supervisor), Michael Wood (Supervisor) & Emma Brown (Supervisor)

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