How to promote pro-environmental behaviour in organizations: the message matters



Environmental management and sustainable development practices in organizations — so called “corporate greening” approaches — currently make up a very bountiful area and at the same time a pressing concern for managers, practitioners and researchers alike. However, literature shows that most interventions on improving sustainable behaviours until now have been carried out only in the private sphere. The current paper aims to explore the efficacy of norm-based interventions for improving employees’ engagement in discretionary, extra-role pro-environmental behaviours. Our study employed a quasi-experimental research design, with pre-test and post-test measures applied to a sample of 84 employees from a number of private companies in Romania. Results provided no support for the efficacy of a normbased intervention in improving such behaviours over time in an organizational setting. Limitations of the current study and avenues for future research are discussed.


corporate greening, OCBE, social norms, quasi-experimental design

Full Text:



Biel, A., & Thøgersen, J. (2007). Activation of social norms in social dilemmas: A review of the evidence and reflections on the implications for environmental behaviour. Journal of Economic Psychology, 28(1), 93–112.

Boiral, O., & Paillé´, P. (2011). Organizational citizenship behaviour for the environment: measurement and validation. Journal of Business Ethics, 109(4), 431–445.

Boiral, O. (2009). Greening the corporation through organizational citizenship behaviors. Journal of Business Ethics, 87(2), 221–236.

Brislin, R. W. (1970). Back-translation for cross-culture research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 1, 185–216.

Carrico, A. R. & Riemer, M. (2011). Motivating energy conservation in the workplace: An evaluation of the use of group level feedback and peer education. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 31, 1–13.

Carrus, G., Bonnes, M., Fornara, F., Passafaro, P., & Tronu, G. (2009). Planned behavior and "local" norms: an analysis of the space-based aspects of normative ecological behavior. Cognitive Processing, 10 Suppl 2S198-S200.

Chowdhury, D. (2013). Organizational citizenship behavior towards sustainability. International Journal of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, 2(1), 28–53.

Cialdini, R.B., Kallgren, C.A., & Reno, R. R. (1991). A focus theory of normative conduct. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 24, 201–234.

Cooperrider, D., & Fry, R. (2009). Editorial: Is corporate citizenship spreading and shrinking? Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 35, 3–6.

Daily, B. F., Bishop, J. W., & Govindarajulu, N. (2009). A conceptual model for organizational citizenship behavior directed toward the environment. Business & Society, 48(2), 243–256.

Kaplan, S., Luchman, J. N., Haynes, D., & Bradley, J. C. (2009). On the role of positive and negative affectivity in job performance: A meta-analytic investigation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(1), 162–176.

Lamm, E., Tosti-Kharas, J., & Williams, E. G. (2013). Read this article, but don’t print it: organizational citizenship behavior toward the environment. Group & Organization Management, 38(2), 163–197.

Lülfs, R., & Hahn, R. (2014). Sustainable behavior in the business sphere: A comprehensive overview of the explanatory power of psychological models. Organization & Environment, 27(1), 43–64.

Lülfs, R., & Hahn, R. (2013). Corporate greening beyond formal programs, initiatives, and systems: A conceptual model for voluntary pro-environmental behavior of employees. European Management Review, 10(2), 83–98.

Matthies, E., Kastner, I., Klesse, A., & Wagner, H. (2011). High reduction potentials for energy user behavior in public buildings: how much can psychology-based interventions achieve? Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 1(3), 241–255.

Organ, D. W., Podsakoff, P. M., & MacKenzie, S. B. (2006). Organizational citizenship behavior: Its nature, antecedents, and consequences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Organ, D. W., & Ryan, K. (1995). A meta-analytic review of attitudinal and dispositional predictors of organizational citizenship behavior. Personnel Psychology, 48(4), 775–802.

Paillé, P., Boiral, O., & Chen, Y. (2013). Linking environmental management practices and organizational citizenship behaviour for the environment: a social exchange perspective. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(18), 3552–3575.

Podsakoff, P.M., MacKenzie, S.B., Paine, J.B., & Bachrach, D.G. (2000). Organisational citizenship behaviors: A critical review of the theoretical and empirical literature and suggestions for future research. Journal of Management, 26, 513–563.

Podsakoff, P. M., Ahearne, M., & Mackenzie, S. B. (1997). Organisational citizenship behaviour and the quantity and quality of work group performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(2), 262–270.

Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Moorman, R. H., & Fetter, R. (1990). Transformational leader behaviours and their effects on followers’ trust in leader, satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behaviours. Leadership Quarterly, 1(2), 107–142.

Ramus, C. A., & Killmer, A. C. (2007). Corporate greening through prosocial extra-role behaviours — a conceptual framework for employee motivation. Business Strategy & The Environment (John Wiley & Sons, Inc), 16(8), 554–570.

Reno, R. R., Cialdini, R. B., & Kallgren, C. A. (1993). The transsituational influence of social norms. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 64(1), 104–112.

Schwartz S.H., & Howard J.A. (1981). A normative decision-making model of altruism. In J.P. Rushton, and R.M Sorrentino (Eds.). Altruism and helping behavior. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.

Schultz, P. W., Khazian, A., & Zaleski, A. (2008). Using normative social influence to promote conservation among hotel guests. Social Influence, 3, 4–23.

Schultz, P., Nolan, J. M., Cialdini, R. B., Goldstein, N. J., & Griskevicius, V. (2007). The Constructive, Destructive, and Reconstructive Power of Social Norms. Psychological Science (Wiley-Blackwell), 18(5), 429–434.

Smith, A. M., & O'Sullivan, T. (2012). Environmentally responsible behaviour in the workplace: An internal social marketing approach. Journal of Marketing Management, 28(3/4), 469–493.

Smith, C. A., Organ, D. W., & Near, J. P. (1983). Organizational citizenship behavior: Its nature and antecedents. Journal of Applied Psychology, 68(4), 653–663.

Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063–1070.

Williams, S., & Shiaw, W. T. (1999). Mood and organizational citizenship behavior: The effects of positive affect on employee. Journal of Psychology, 133(6), 656–668.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 VLAD PANDUR

Asociatia de Psihologie Industriala si Organizationala
Strada Grigore Moisil, nr. 42, sector 2, București, cod poștal 023796

Creative Commons License
This work by Psihologia Resurselor Umane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at