What Motivates Environmental Leadership Behavior - An Empirical Analysis


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Xuejiao NIU


Awarding Institution
Award date12 Sep 2016


Leaders in the public sector play a critical role in formulating and implementing policies that deal with deteriorating environments and diminishing natural resources. However, existing studies of environmental policies and management 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 terms of environmental protection? What motivates them? How does motivation work in various organizational contexts? To answer these questions, this research develops and tests a model of environmental leadership motivation. Deriving materials from the literature on environmental leadership and environmental psychology, this study develops an environmental leadership model that distinguishes instrumental motives, which stem from leaders’ concerns about personal or institutional benefits, from normative motives, which arise from leaders’ judgement of the appropriateness of actions. The results show that both instrumental and normative motives significantly affect administrators’ environmental leadership behavior, while instrumental motives for compliance with the law stands out as a critical factor in environmental leadership behavior. Moreover, the study suggests that contexts also influence environmental leadership motivation and action. 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 areas

  • Environmental Leadership, Motivational Factors, Public Sector