This research examines motives for environmentally sustainable (or “green”) employee behavior. Although individuals’ motives for pro-environmental behavior were previously explored in non-workplace domains, systematic attempts to identify the barriers and motives of employee green behavior are lacking. Thus, the aim of this research is to understand and assess why employees engage in green behavior, build a nomological network around these motive constructs, and explore the implications for how employee green behavior can be best supported given different motivations. These overarching research questions were addressed through a series of studies. First, in Study 1, a taxonomy of motives of and barriers to employee green behaviors was developed through an analysis of critical incident interviews with U.S. employees and then replicated in the U.S. and cross-culturally with a European sample. Sixteen motives and barriers were identified. In Study 2, sex differences in pro-environmental behaviors and its determinants were examined. The meta-analysis included environmental motivation (social responsibility, self-efficacy, expectancy, social norms, lack of knowledge), motivationally-relevant variables (environmental values, concern, commitment, behavioral intentions), environmental attitudes, and informational variables (environmental awareness, environmental knowledge) as well as pro-environmental behaviors (general, avoiding harm, conserving, influencing others, responsible product choices, and taking initiative). Generalizable sex differences were observed, with women more likely to report higher levels of specific environmental concern, greater motivation stemming from social norms, self-efficacy, and social responsibility, and more behaviors aimed at avoiding environmental harm. Men were more likely to have higher levels of environmental knowledge, however this effect seems to be diminishing over time. In the third study, the taxonomy of motives and barriers was used to develop an Environmental Sustainability Motives Scale to assess motives for green behavior performance and omission, as well as ungreen commission and avoidance. Exploratory factor analyses revealed four similarly interpretable factors across these behavioral quadrants: Prosocial, Enabling Capabilities, Extrinsic, and Image motive factors. Examinations of the nomological network of these factors showed differing relationships with how factors related to the Big Five personality factors and facets, sex, and green behavior across behavioral quadrants. The findings in this dissertation highlight the benefits of identifying and being able to measure the motivational determinants and barriers of employee green behavior in promoting environmental sustainability in organizations.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Psychology. Advisor: Deniz Ones. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 500 pages.
Employee Motives for Engaging in Environmentally Sustainable Behaviors: A Multi-Study Analysis.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.