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The interpersonal determinants of green purchasing: an assessment of the empirical record

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This study investigates how well prominent behavioral theories from social psychology explain green purchasing behavior (GPB). I assess three prominent theories in terms of their suitability for GPB research, their attractiveness to GPB empiricists, and the strength of their empirical

This study investigates how well prominent behavioral theories from social psychology explain green purchasing behavior (GPB). I assess three prominent theories in terms of their suitability for GPB research, their attractiveness to GPB empiricists, and the strength of their empirical evidence when applied to GPB. First, a qualitative assessment of the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), Norm Activation Theory (NAT), and Value-Belief-Norm Theory (VBN) is conducted to evaluate a) how well the phenomenon and concepts in each theory match the characteristics of pro-environmental behavior and b) how well the assumptions made in each theory match common assumptions made in purchasing theory. Second, a quantitative assessment of these three theories is conducted in which r2 values and methodological parameters (e.g., sample size) are collected from a sample of 21 empirical studies on GPB to evaluate the accuracy and generalize-ability of empirical evidence. In the qualitative assessment, the results show each theory has its advantages and disadvantages. The results also provide a theoretically-grounded roadmap for modifying each theory to be more suitable for GPB research. In the quantitative assessment, the TPB outperforms the other two theories in every aspect taken into consideration. It proves to 1) create the most accurate models 2) be supported by the most generalize-able empirical evidence and 3) be the most attractive theory to empiricists. Although the TPB establishes itself as the best foundational theory for an empiricist to start from, it's clear that a more comprehensive model is needed to achieve consistent results and improve our understanding of GPB. NAT and the Theory of Interpersonal Behavior (TIB) offer pathways to extend the TPB. The TIB seems particularly apt for this endeavor, while VBN does not appear to have much to offer. Overall, the TPB has already proven to hold a relatively high predictive value. But with the state of ecosystem services continuing to decline on a global scale, it's important for models of GPB to become more accurate and reliable. Better models have the capacity to help marketing professionals, product developers, and policy makers develop strategies for encouraging consumers to buy green products.

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Date Created
2012

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Uncovering relationships between sustainable business practice bundles, organizational culture, and performance

Description

Corporations work to reduce their negative impacts on the environment and society by adopting Sustainable business (SB) practices. Businesses create competitive advantages via practices such as waste minimization, green product design, compliance with regulations, and stakeholder relations. Normative models

Corporations work to reduce their negative impacts on the environment and society by adopting Sustainable business (SB) practices. Businesses create competitive advantages via practices such as waste minimization, green product design, compliance with regulations, and stakeholder relations. Normative models indicate that businesses should adopt similar sustainability practices, however, contingency theory suggests that effectiveness of practices depends on the context of the business. The literature highlights the importance of organizational culture as a moderating variable between SB practices and outcomes, however this link has not been empirically examined. This thesis presents the development and testing of a theoretical model, using configuration theory, that links SB practices, organizational culture, and financial performance.

Published frameworks were utilized to identify SB practices in use, and the Competing Values Framework (CVF) to identify dimensions of culture. Data from 1021 Corporate Sustainability Reports from 212 companies worldwide was collected for computerized text analysis, which provided a measure of the occurrence of a specific SB practice and the four dimensions of the CVF. Hypotheses were analyzed using cluster, crosstab, and t-test statistical methods.

The findings contribute significant insights to the Business and Sustainability field. Firstly, clustering of SB practice bundles identified organizations at various levels of SB practice awareness. The spectrum runs from a compliance level of awareness, to a set of organizations aware of the importance of culture change for sustainability. Top performing clusters demonstrated different priorities with regards to SB practices; these were in many cases, related to contextual factors, such as location or sector. This implies that these organizations undertook varying sustainability strategies, but all arrived at some successful level of sustainability. Another key finding was the association between the highest performing SB practice clusters and a culture dominated by Adhocracy values, corroborating theories presented in the literature, but were not empirically tested before.

The results of this research offer insights into the use of text analysis to study SB practices and organizational culture. Further, this study presents a novel attempt at empirically testing the relationship between SB practices and culture, and tying this to financial performance. The goal is that this work serves as an initial step in redefining the way in which businesses adopt SB practices. A transformation of SB practice adoption will lead to major improvements in sustainability strategies, and subsequently drive change for improved corporate sustainability.

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Date Created
2017