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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.
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Lei Yang, Danae Manika and Frances Bowen

Previous research shows that organisations and employees usually perform green practices and activities superficially. Those behaviours are decoupled from the true benefits on the environment and very often are symbolic in nature. Symbolic pro-environmental activities are suggested as the representations of pro-environmental behaviours in symbolic form or the symbolic meanings attributed to eco-friendly objects and actions. This chapter aims to establish an integrated multi-level framework with three dimensions: appropriateness, competitiveness and status, to explain drivers of symbolic pro-environmental behaviours at organisational and employee levels. Specifically, the competitiveness dimension includes two aspects: gain resources and differentiation.

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Deniz S. Ones, Brenton M. Wiernik, Stephan Dilchert and Rachael M. Klein

We describe a taxonomy of diverse types of workplace behaviours that contribute to, or detract from, environmental sustainability goals in organisational settings. The Green Five taxonomy was developed using critical incidents methodology and includes five major content-based meta-categories of employee green behaviours (EGBs): Transforming, Avoiding Harm, Conserving, Influencing Others, and Taking Initiative. We discuss the behavioural and psychological meanings of these meta-categories, as well as their sub-categories. We also highlight key features of the Green Five taxonomy (e.g., it is content-based, it incorporates both positive and negative behaviours, it integrates with general models of job performance). Finally, we review existing measures of employee green behaviours in terms of their coverage of the employee green behaviour construct domain, and identify future directions for research and applications.

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Paul C. Endrejat and Simone Kauffeld

This chapter argues that participatory interventions (PIs) are effective means for increasing employees’ pro-environmental behaviour (PEB). We rely on the Self-Determination Theory to accentuate that the fulfilment of the three basic psychological needs – autonomy, competence, and relatedness – is necessary before expecting employees to behave with volitional PEB. To provide guidelines of how PIs can be conducted within organisations, we illustrate a prototypical workshop process (detection, decision, implementation) to ensure PEB’s integration into work routines. Furthermore, we highlight the essential elements of a PI, such as (1) change agents’ sufficient facilitation skills of establishing an autonomy-supportive atmosphere, (2) the analysis of the perceived (dis-)advantages associated with PEB, and (3) documentation of agreed measures to establish PEB fostering norms. Finally, we discuss process evaluation and a stronger focus on employees’ characteristics as avenues for further research, and derive implications of how practitioners can enhance PEB by using PIs.