What motivates environmental leadership behaviour : an empirical analysis in Taiwan

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-187
Journal / PublicationJournal of Asian Public Policy
Issue number2
Online published14 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Leaders in the public sector play a critical role in formulating and implementing environmental policies. However, existing studies mainly attribute policy actions and outcomes to institutional factors, while the roles of individual public administrators are largely ignored. This empirical analysis satisfies this gap by answering the following questions: Why do some administrative leaders do more than others in environmental protection? What motivates them? How does motivation work in various organizational contexts? We develop a model based on the literature on environmental leadership and environmental psychology, and then test it with first-ever data collected from a survey and in-depth interviews in Taiwan central government. We find that environmental leaders are motivated by both extrinsic instrumental causes for self-interests (economic opportunities or legal compliance etc.) and intrinsic normative reasons to engage in broad issues in sustainability, though the formers are clearly more influential. Moreover, environmental leadership is augmented in amicable institutional conditions for environmental protection. We discuss the relevance of these findings in environmental policies and management. This research contributes to the literature on and practice of the subject by examining the increasingly important situational leadership aspect of public management, which has hardly been studied, and unveils unique circumstances for decision-making.

Research Area(s)

  • Environmental leadership, environmental policymaking, public sector motivational factors, public policy and management in Taiwan