Greening organizations through leaders' influence on employees' pro-environmental behaviors


Jennifer L. Robertson, School of Business, Queen's University, 143 Union St., Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6. E-mail:


Climate change is a serious global issue that poses many risks to environmental and human systems. Although human activity is cited as the main cause of climate change and organizations significantly contribute to climate change, research that investigates workplace pro-environmental behaviors remains scarce. We develop and test a model that links environmentally-specific transformational leadership and leaders' workplace pro-environmental behaviors to employees' pro-environmental passion and behaviors. Structural equation modeling on data from 139 subordinate–leader dyads (M ages = 37.42 and 40.17 years, respectively) showed that leaders' environmental descriptive norms predicted their environmentally-specific transformational leadership and their workplace pro-environmental behaviors, both of which predicted employees' harmonious environmental passion. In turn, employees' own harmonious environmental passion and their leaders' workplace pro-environmental behaviors predicted their workplace pro-environmental behaviors. These findings show that leaders' environmental descriptive norms and the leadership and pro-environmental behaviors they enact play an important role in the greening of organizations. Conceptual and practical implications are discussed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.