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The relationship between pro-environmental attitude and employee green behavior: the role of motivational states and green work climate perceptions

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Employee green behavior is an environmentally friendly behavior in the workplace and is an important basis for transforming an organization’s macrolevel sustainable development strategy into concrete practice. How does employees’ pro-environmental attitude affect the implementation of their behaviors? To answer this question, we examined the relationship between pro-environmental attitude and employee green behavior and the roles of motivational states and green work climate perceptions in this process. The results showed that pro-environmental attitude positively predicted required employee green behavior and voluntary employee green behavior and that these relationships were mediated by controlled and autonomous motivations. In addition, this study showed that the positive role of pro-environmental attitude in controlled motivation and autonomous motivation was moderated by green work climate perceptions. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical implications.

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This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant numbers 71771022] and The Fundamental Research Funds for the University of Science and Technology Beijing [grant number FRF-BR-18-001B].

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Correspondence to Jian Zhang.

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1. Employee green behavior (Norton et al. 2014)

  1. (1)

    Today, I adequately completed assigned duties in environmentally friendly ways

  2. (2)

    Today, I fulfilled responsibilities specified in my job description in environmentally friendly ways

  3. (3)

    Today, I performed tasks that are expected of me in environmentally friendly ways

  4. (4)

    Today, I took a chance to get actively involved in environmental protection at work

  5. (5)

    Today, I took initiative to act in environmentally friendly ways at work

  6. (6)

    Today, I did more for the environment at work than I was expected to

2. New Ecological Paradigm Scale (Dunlap and Van Liere 1978; Dunlap et al. 2000)

  1. (1)

    We are approaching the limit of the number of people the earth can support

  2. (2)

    Humans have the right to modify the natural environment to suit their needs

  3. (3)

    When humans interfere with nature it often produces disastrous consequences

  4. (4)

    Human ingenuity will insure that we do NOT make the earth unlivable

  5. (5)

    Humans are severely abusing the environment

  6. (6)

    The earth has plenty of natural resources if we just learn how to develop them

  7. (7)

    Plants and animals have as much right as humans to exist

  8. (8)

    The balance of nature is strong enough to cope with the impacts of modern industrial nations

  9. (9)

    Despite our special abilities, humans are still subject to the laws of nature

  10. (10)

    The so-called ecological crisis facing humankind has been greatly exaggerated

  11. (11)

    The earth is like a spaceship with very limited room and resources

  12. (12)

    Humans were meant to rule over the rest of nature

  13. (13)

    The balance of nature is very delicate and easily upset

  14. (14)

    Humans will eventually learn enough about how nature works to be able to control it

  15. (15)

    If things continue on their present course, we will soon experience a major ecological catastrophe

3. The Motivation at Work Scale (Gagné et al. 2010)

  1. (1)

    Because I enjoy doing green behavior very much

  2. (2)

    Because I have fun doing green behavior

  3. (3)

    For the moments of pleasure that doing green behavior brings me

  4. (4)

    I chose doing green behavior because it allows me to reach my life goals

  5. (5)

    Because doing green behavior fulfills my career plans

  6. (6)

    Because doing green behavior fits my personal values

  7. (7)

    Because I have to be the best in doing green behavior, I have to be a ‘winner’

  8. (8)

    Because doing green behavior is my life and I do not want to fail

  9. (9)

    Because my reputation depends on it

  10. (10)

    Because doing green behavior affords me a certain standard of living

  11. (11)

    Because it allows me to make a lot of money

  12. (12)

    I do green behavior for the pay-check

4. Green work climate perceptions (Norton et al. 2014)

  1. (1)

    Our company is worried about its environmental impact

  2. (2)

    Our company is interested in supporting environmental causes

  3. (3)

    Our company believes it is important to protect the environment

  4. (4)

    Our company is concerned with becoming more environmentally friendly

  5. (5)

    In our company, employees pay attention to environmental issues

  6. (6)

    In our company, employees are concerned about acting in environmentally friendly ways

  7. (7)

    In our company, employees try to minimize harm to the environment

  8. (8)

    In our company, employees care about the environment

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Tian, H., Zhang, J. & Li, J. The relationship between pro-environmental attitude and employee green behavior: the role of motivational states and green work climate perceptions. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2019).

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  • Required employee green behavior
  • Voluntary employee green behavior
  • Pro-environmental attitude
  • Controlled motivation
  • Autonomous motivation
  • Green work climate perceptions