Influences on Diffusion of Eco-innovation: A Study on Green Building Adoption in Hong Kong


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date5 Nov 2019


Diffusion research is a rich and growing field in social science, and has extensively affected the study of the adoption of innovations. Its multi-disciplinary approach is invaluable for examining the social change implications of innovation-adoption in today’s complex and rapidly changing society. In this work, a diffusion research-based approach was used to study the adoption of eco-innovation in Hong Kong as part of the global battle against climate change. The development and use of ‘green’ (i.e. energy efficient) buildings was chosen as the focus of the study because buildings are responsible for 89% of electricity usage in Hong Kong. Thus, the determinants of Hong Kong building-owner behaviour when faced with the adoption of green-building principles were examined. To afford a holistic view, both micro- and macroscale forces influencing the adoption of such principles in the local context were scrutinised. A two-phase mixed methodology was used to provide richer detail than a qualitative or quantitative method could have generated alone. This research extended the literature on diffusion of eco-innovations by exploring the determinants of such diffusion in the Hong Kong context. It also delineated a novel approach for scholars interested in analysing this phenomenon by bridging three streams of study: institutional theory, firm behaviour theory and diffusion research. Such an approach is in alignment with the view of contemporary behavioural economists that models that predict human behaviour are essential for driving complex social change. The research findings offered possible explanations for why firms are not adopting green buildings despite their apparent economic and ecological benefits and the government’s stated intention to drive the spread of green buildings in Hong Kong.