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Environmental Behavior On and Off the Job: A Configurational Approach

Abstract

The current literature on environmental sustainability acknowledges that habits are often shaped in private life and that experiences with environmental activities in a non-work setting positively influence environmental behaviors in the work domain. However, the conditions that lead individuals to behave responsibly at work based on their environmental commitment outside the workplace remain poorly understood. We address this issue by pursuing two objectives. First, we outline archetypes of environmental behavior on and off the job and classify individuals into four profiles: Apathetic, Conformist, Citizen and Enthusiast. Second, we examine a set of organizational and psychological variables that explain the likelihood of behaving in accordance with the principles of an archetype in terms of pro-environmental behavior at work. Our findings show that supervisory support, job self-efficacy and affective commitment increase the likelihood of being green at work but that environmental management practices do not. The results differ according to the profiles identified, allowing a better understanding of employees’ commitment to environmental sustainability. We conclude the paper by discussing the theoretical and managerial implications of our findings.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Harry Van Buren III and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments in developing this paper.

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Correspondence to Pascal Paillé.

Appendix

Appendix

Organizational citizenship behavior for the environment (OCB-E)
 1. Staying informed of the company’s environmental efforts
 2. Undertaking environmental actions that contribute positively to the company’s image
 3. Volunteering for projects or activities that address environmental issues in the company
 4. Making suggestions about ways to protect the environment more effectively
 5. Suggesting new practices that could improve the environmental performance of the company
 6. Giving time spontaneously to help colleagues take the environment into account
 7. Encouraging colleagues to adopt more environmentally conscious behaviors
Environmental management practices (EMPs)
 1. Environmental policy
 2. Specific targets for environmental performance
 3. Environmental management system
 4. Environmental considerations to purchasing decisions
 5. Employee environmental training
Supervisory support behavior toward the environment (SUPPORT)
 1. Encouraging environmental initiatives
 2. Making sure employees develop environmental skills
 3. Listening carefully to and valuing inputs on environmental topics
 4. Giving complete and accurate information regarding environmental issues
 5. Involving employees in environmental problem solving
Private green behaviors (PGB)
 1. Buying organic fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides or chemicals
 2. Buying products that are made from recycled materials
 3. Buying products or services from firms enjoying a reputation for environmental responsibility
 4. Buying household chemicals (detergent, cleaning solutions, etc.) that are environmentally friendly
 5. Avoiding buying products with a lot of plastic and useless packing
 6. Recycling household waste (cans, bottles, paper, etc.)
 7. Avoiding unnecessary consumption of energy (electricity, gas, etc.)
 8. Driving only if absolutely necessary (e.g., leave the car at home for short distances)
 9. Avoiding unnecessary consumption of water
Affective commitment to the organization (AC-ORG)
 1. Ownership of the company’s problems
 2. Not a strong sense of belonging to the company (R)*
 3. Company has a great deal of personal meaning
 4. Emotional attachment to the strategic choices of the company
 5. Proud to be a member of the company
Personal environmental beliefs (NEP)
 1. So-called ecological crisis facing humankind greatly exaggerated (R)
 2. Earth like a spaceship with limited room and resources
 3. Major ecological catastrophe to happen if things continue on their present course
 4. Balance of nature strong enough to cope with the impacts of modern industrial nations (R)
 5. Humans severely abusing the environment
Job self-efficacy (SELF-EFF)
 1. Job well within the scope of abilities
 2. Some trouble to deal with the requirements of work (R)
 3. All the technical knowledge needed to deal with the job
 4. Knowledge to perform successfully at work sometimes lacking (R)
  1. *(R) reversed

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Paillé, P., Raineri, N. & Boiral, O. Environmental Behavior On and Off the Job: A Configurational Approach. J Bus Ethics 158, 253–268 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-017-3758-1

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Keywords

  • Corporate greening
  • OCB-E
  • Private green behaviors
  • Spillover
  • Sustainability