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Varieties of Green Business

Industries, Nations and Time

Geoffrey Jones

This book provides rich new empirical evidence on green business as it examines its variation between industries and nations, and over time. It demonstrates the deep historical origins of endeavors to create for-profit businesses that were more responsible and sustainable, but also how these strategies have faced constraints, trade-offs and challenges of legitimacy. Based on extensive interviews and archives from around the world, the book asks why green business succeeds more in some contexts than others, and draws lessons from failure as well as success.
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Geoffrey Jones

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Geoffrey Jones

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Yu Ha Cheung and Alicia S. M. Leung

Organisations have been increasingly aware of the importance of promoting environmental sustainability as one means of fulfilling a role in corporate social responsibility. Using data from 194 Hong Kong managerial and professional employees collected through two waves of online survey, we examined the impact of three proximal factors, autonomy at work, management involvement, and intrinsic motivation on workplace green behaviour (i.e., champion green behaviour, conventional green behaviour, paper use and electricity use). Our results showed that (1) employees’ intrinsic motivation and management expectations of acting green were significant predictors of workplace green behaviour; (2) autonomy at work was related only to champion green behaviour; and (3) the presence of committees or designated personnel on promoting green initiative was not related to employees’ workplace green behaviour.

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Niamh Murtagh, Birgitta Gatersleben and David Uzzell

Energy consumption in offices is particularly important amongst the environmentally impacting activities of office workers. Almost 70 per cent of this consumption is electricity, with information and computing technologies amongst the highest uses. In this chapter, we explore the question of whether individual energy feedback can influence behaviour. Research evidence on feedback in the home is reviewed but despite extensive research, the mix of approaches, small sample sizes and absence of control groups, baseline usage and inferential statistical analysis pose a challenge to conclusive findings – published studies report wide variation. In the workplace, approaches, interventions and outcomes have also been varied. A common conclusion of such studies is that interventions in the workplace can contribute to behaviour change and reduction in energy consumption and, in particular, that feedback can be an effective component of intervention. However, the chapter concludes that, despite a rapidly growing empirical base, definitive findings from the workplace remain elusive. The psychological mechanisms by which feedback may work are still unknown. Information deficit alone is insufficient as an explanation. The most promising constructs to explore further are motivation and meaning, awareness (even though we know that raised awareness in itself does not necessarily result in changed behaviour) and self-efficacy. Behaviour change requires motivation beyond the provision of information. Furthermore, the time for feedback aimed simply at energy reduction is gone. As economies shift towards lower carbon, the issue is no longer one of less energy use but shifting energy use to renewable sources alongside reducing waste. Energy at work is consumed in a collective endeavour and workers should be involved in energy-saving strategies.

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Thomas A. Norton, Stacey L. Parker, Matthew C. Davis, Sally V. Russell and Neal M. Ashkanasy

Stakeholders increasingly evaluate contemporary organisations on their environmental performance. Consequently, pro-environmental or “green” behaviour and its drivers are becoming an important aspect of workplace behaviour. In this regard, we outline how organisations can encourage their employees to be green at work. Importantly, we note that individual green behaviour contributes to system-level environmental performance. Thus, we consider an organisation as a complex adaptive system wherein employees create a workplace environment that subsequently influences their activity at work. We describe this as a virtuous cycle where employee green behaviour builds a green organisational culture, which then encourages more green behaviour. By helping employees modify the local rules guiding behaviour to include EGB, organisations might be able to enhance the effectiveness of their formal structures and develop a positive culture towards environmental sustainability. To this end, we provide recommendations for practitioners in this area.

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Caroline Verfuerth and Diana Gregory-Smith

This chapter discusses the concept of ‘spillover’ and its various conceptualisations in pro-environmental behaviour research. It provides an overview of the current spillover literature and its relevance to environmentally friendly behaviours and the workplace. Different methodological approaches (quantitative, qualitative and mixed) used in past studies that investigated spillover effects, both between behaviours and between settings, are critically discussed. The chapter also considers the implications of both positive and negative spillover effects for social marketing campaigns and behaviour change programmes that promote pro-environmental behaviours in organisations.

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Amelie V. Güntner, Florian E. Klonek and Simone Kauffeld

This chapter addresses the challenge of motivating employees regarding energy conservation, by providing a socio-motivational and micro-interactional perspective on energy conservations in the workplace. Building on change management research, we highlight the socio-relational and motivational dynamics between energy managers and employees in conversations about energy-related behaviour change. Further, we introduce Motivational Interviewing (MI) as a socio-relational approach that offers potential to help energy managers in discussing energy savings with employees. In this regard, we outline how introductory training in MI for energy managers can be designed, can provide detailed information on procedures, and present methodological approaches to evaluate these types of interventions. Finally, we provide a detailed analysis of conversational dynamics between an energy manager and an employee who we evaluated as part of a training evaluation study.

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Peter Bradley, Shane Fudge and Matthew Leach

This study presents results from a smart metering intervention that provided detailed individual desk-based energy feedback to help individuals reduce energy in an organisation. Although the intervention was based on the study of individuals, this chapter explores how the technology was socialised, and how it was set to explore changes in normative influence (descriptive and injunctive norms) around specific energy services, before and after the intervention. Results from the study identify that social norms around certain energy services changed as a result of the intervention, and the level of descriptive norms was found to have a direct effect on energy efficiency of participants. Interviews were carried out during the study and provided insight on social construction and social comparison processes occurring during the intervention, as these are key to understanding the emergence and diffusion of social norms. Strong interaction between technologies/technology policy and social context was found.

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Edited by Victoria Wells, Diana Gregory-Smith and Danae Manika

This Research Handbook brings together leading academics of employee pro-environmental behaviour to highlight the key features and challenges of this growing field. The international contributors draw on studies from across the methodological spectrum, examine employee behaviour and discuss how pro-environmental behaviour can be fostered and encouraged, inspecting the impact for organisations.