Not all pro-environmental initiatives can increase pro-environmental behavior: An empirical examination of employees’ pro-environmental attributions

Dan Yang, Kenneth S. Law, Guiyao Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

With the growing importance of environmental sustainability, organizational research on employees' pro-environmental behavior (PEB) also continues to grow. While past studies have scrutinized organizations' pro-environmental strategies, they have overlooked variations in employees' attribution of their firm's initiatives. This oversight may hamper organizations' pro-environmental efforts because employees' interpretation of a firm's initiatives may have an extensive effect on the results. To address the current research limitation, we investigate how and why employees could respond distinctly to their organizations' pro-environmental initiatives. Drawing upon attribution theory, we argue that pro-environmental attributions could be underlying mechanisms. Specifically, when employees engender symbolic attribution from the configuration of the HHH pattern (high consensus, high distinctiveness, and high consistency) or LHL pattern (low consensus, high distinctiveness, and low consistency), they are less likely to engage in PEB. In contrast, when employees engender substantive attribution from the configuration of the LLH pattern (low consensus, low distinctiveness, and high consistency), they are more likely to engage in PEB. We conducted a series of studies. The experiment demonstrates the causal relationship of the attributional cascades, and the field study validates the external implications of the research conclusions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Pro-environmental behavior
  • Pro-environmental attributions
  • Attribution theory
  • Green practices
  • Environmental sustainability

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