Do others affect us? We are social creatures so seeing the way other people behave in a certain context affects the way we behave ourselves. Can we influence the way people behave by giving the perception that others are changing… it may even work subconsciously!
Norton et al. (2014) research looked at how perceptions of environmental sustainability norms (they used a green psychological climate) in an organisation can influence the green behaviours of employees. They used the Theory of Normative Conduct as basis for their research to see if the perception that others care about environmental sustainability affect individuals to behave more environmentally friendly at work.
What did they find?
They found that this perceived green psychological climate did lead to employees behaving more environmentally friendly at work. This was more significant for the behaviours that were in their job role but also for behaviours that weren’t specifically designated by the organisation, but both of these were medium or sometimes strong predictors (r =0.22 and 0.45). The also found that a sustainability policy also was strongly related to creating this green psychological climate (r=0.4 and 0.6).
What does this mean?
Organisations should implement clear and observable green policies and be be authentic and genuine with their intentions to ‘go green’ as the employees will perceive the organisation to have a higher green psychological climate (a green work culture) and will be much more likely to behave in an environmentally sustainable way at work.