Environmentally responsible behaviour in the workplace: an internal social marketing approach

Smith, Anne M. and O'Sullivan, Terry (2012). Environmentally responsible behaviour in the workplace: an internal social marketing approach. Journal of Marketing Management, 28(3-4) pp. 469–493.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2012.658837


The role of social marketing in encouraging environmentally responsible consumer behaviour is recognised. However, organisations account for a greater negative environmental impact. This study aims to identify how social marketers and organisations can reduce that impact by harnessing a valuable resource, that of employees’ environmentally responsible organisational citizenship behaviours (EROCBs). Findings from focus group interviews with employees of five large UK organisations show that individual personal factors such as environmental concern, values, beliefs, norms and habits formed from domestic behaviour are fundamental to EROCBs. An important role for internal social marketing (ISM) is highlighted in identifying environmentally concerned employees, or ‘internal customers,’ creating incentives and removing barriers to pro-environmental behaviour. The need to increase employees’ self - efficacy with respect to EROCBs is emphasised.
Summary statement of contribution
This paper is the first to explore the potential role of ISM in achieving social change through influencing employees’ EROCBs. The nature of these behaviours together with key drivers and constraints are identified. A social cognitive theoretical framework for analysing pro-environmental behaviour within the organisational context is proposed providing the basis for the development and implementation of ISM programmes. Further potential for ISM in other social marketing contexts is indicated for future research.

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