A selection of interesting articles we found recently looking at influencers on sustainable behaviour.

What drives/prevents green and non-green consumers?
This study aims to analyse what drives and prevents the purchasing of eco-friendly products across different consumer groups and develops a conceptual model embracing the positive altruistic (care for the environmental consequences of purchasing), positive ego-centric (green self-identity and moral obligation), and negative ego-centric (perceived personal inconvenience of purchasing eco-friendly products) antecedents of eco-friendly product purchase intention and behaviour.

The authors empirically validate the conceptual model for green (n = 453) and non-green (n = 473) consumers (i.e., consumers who engage in a set of pro-environmental behaviours for environmental reasons versus consumers who do not engage in these behaviours). Data are analysed using structural equation modelling and multi-group analysis of the two groups. The results confirm the relevance of the determining factors in the model and show significant differences in eco-friendly product purchasing patterns between green and non-green consumers. Altruistic motives are more important for green than for non-green consumers. Negative ego-centric motives affect the purchase intentions of non-green consumers more than the intentions of green consumers, whereas the impact of negative motives on behaviour is stronger for green than for non-green consumers.

The first contribution of this paper is the development and testing of a parsimonious model of eco-friendly products purchasing that embraces both positive (altruistic and ego-centric) and negative (ego-centric) antecedents, which have been theoretically suggested in the past but have rarely been empirically tested together.

The second contribution of this study is that it develops insight into the specific antecedents of eco-friendly products purchasing for green and non-green consumers to assess potential similarities and differences in eco-friendly products purchasing process, the hypothesized antecedents, their impact on eco-friendly products purchase intention and behaviour, and the intention–behaviour relation.

For more detail, see: Camilla Barbarossa & Patrick De Pelsmacker. 2016. Positive and Negative Antecedents of Purchasing Eco-friendly Products: A Comparison Between Green and Non-green Consumers.  
Journal of Business Ethics, 134(2), 229-247.

The gap between consumers’ green rhetoric and purchasing behaviour
Why do consumers who profess to be concerned about the environment choose not to buy greener products more regularly or even at all? This study explores how consumers’ perceptions towards green products, consumers and consumption practices (termed green perceptions) contribute to our understanding of the discrepancy between green attitudes and behaviour. This study identified several barriers to ethical consumption behaviour within a green consumption context.

Three key themes emerged from the study, ‘it is too hard to be green’, ‘green stigma’ and ‘green reservations’. There is currently a perception, based on a number of factors, that it is too hard to be green, which creates a barrier to purchasing green products. Furthermore, some consumers were reluctant or resistant to participate in green consumption practices due to their unfavourable perceptions of green consumers and green messages. This article suggests that green perceptions may influence consumers’ intention to purchase green products. Accordingly, it discusses the implications, and suggests avenues for future research.

See more at: Micael-Lee Johnstone & Lay Peng Tan. 2015. Exploring the Gap Between Consumers’ Green Rhetoric and Purchasing Behaviour.
Journal of Business Ethics, 132(2), 311-328.

Strategies for climate change and impression management among Canada’s large industrial emitters
This paper explores the justifications and impression management strategies that industrial companies use to rationalize their impacts on climate change. These strategies influence the perceptions of stakeholders through the use of techniques of neutralization intended to legitimize the impacts of corporate operations in the area of climate change.

Based on a qualitative and inductive approach, 10 case studies were conducted of large Canadian industrial emitters. Interviews were conducted with managers and environmental specialists (n = 32). Public documentation was also collected when available. This study identifies six main neutralization techniques that industrial emitters use to rationalize their impacts: self-proclaimed excellence, promotion of a systemic view, denial and minimization, denouncing unfair treatment and deceptive appearances, economic and technological blackmail, and blaming others.

The paper develops a better understanding of corporate arguments and strategies aimed at influencing the perceptions of stakeholders, including policymakers. The study also contributes to the literature on impression management by shedding light on new strategies and techniques of neutralization used by managers to shape the perceptions of stakeholders on socially sensitive issues.

Read more at: David Talbot & Olivier Boiral. 2015. Strategies for Climate Change and Impression Management: A Case Study Among Canada’s Large Industrial Emitters.
Journal of Business Ethics, 132(2), 329-346.

Government intervention, peers’ giving and corporate philanthropy in Chinese private SMEs
Institutional and resource dependence theories point at the roles of government and peers’ behaviour as determinants of firms’ social behaviour. This is tested in this research, with important implications for both theory and practice. Using data from a national survey of Chinese private small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2008, this paper examines the role of government intervention in corporate philanthropy (CP), as well as the moderation effect of peers’ giving (both industry and community peers’ giving).

Results show that government intervention, when using a Marketization Index as a measure, increases CP (both giving probability and amount). In addition, the community peers’ giving enhances the positive effect of government intervention on SMEs’ giving. But the moderation effect of industry peers’ giving is generally not supported except when CP is measured as giving-to-sales. In general, community peers appear to be a clear reference for SMEs and, in relation to government intervention, exert a dominant isomorphic influence. The findings provide strong support to the neo-institutional theory perspective on philanthropy.

Important theoretical and practical implications are suggested at: Yongqiang Gao & Taïeb Hafsi. 2015. Government Intervention, Peers’ Giving and Corporate Philanthropy: Evidence from Chinese Private SMEs.
Journal of Business Ethics, 132(2), 433-447.

Managerial morality and philanthropy
While previous authors have broadly examined the motivations and outcomes of the philanthropic activities of organisations, the present study extends Miska et al.’s (J Bus Ethics 1–12, 2013) rationalistic approach to examine the degree to which managerial philanthropic decision-making behaviour is dominated by morality.

This study also tackles the question of whether this relationship is moderated by the strength of the geographical proximity and amount of the donation within an agency framework. To probe the radical agency problem and the effect of intervention, an alternative heuristic scenario is also developed to provide evidence that managers under the same moral level show significant differences in donation intention under a variety of agency conditions.

The results indicate a significant difference between the existence and non-existence of agency problems in charitable decision-making by managers high in idealism and relativism; however, at the same time, philanthropic behaviour is intertwined with various dilemma-related contexts. These findings bridge the gap in the literature on ethics and corporate social responsibility, and challenge current thinking on corporate governance mechanisms in this area by offering researchers and practitioners an integrated model that responds to a strong sceptical bias or a high premium placed on morality.

For the full paper, see: Cheng-Li Huang & Ju-Lan Tsai. 2015. Managerial Morality and Philanthropic Decision-Making: A Test of an Agency Model.
Journal of Business Ethics, 132(4), 795-811.