Going Green in Public Organizations: Linking Organizational Commitment and Public Service Motives to Public Employees’ Workplace Eco-Initiatives

Justin Stritch, Robert K. Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Public servants are expected to be good stewards of resources, including the energy and environmental resources consumed in a public organization’s day-to-day operations. Many government organizations have enacted policies to mitigate the environmental impact of their operations. Even in the absence of formal policies, however, individual public employees might engage in a number of discretionary, pro-environmental behaviors known as eco-initiatives. What motivational factors cause a public employee to exhibit eco-initiative? To answer this question, we draw on a theoretical framework based on connectedness to nature, organizational commitment, public service motivation (PSM), and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). We use employee-level data from a large city in the southeast United States to examine employee participation in individual eco-initiatives. We contextualize these discretionary initiatives as interesting forms of OCB, which are directed toward the environment (OCB-E). Our findings suggest that connectedness to nature, organizational commitment, and PSM are significant predictors of eco-initiative in the public workplace. In addition, we find that PSM conditions the impact of organizational commitment on eco-initiatives for certain types of employees. We conclude with a discussion that underscores the importance of individual employee motivation in discretionary efforts that advance OCB-E and effective public stewardship generally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-355
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Keywords

  • eco-initiative
  • environmental behavior
  • organizational citizenship behavior
  • organizational commitment
  • public service motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

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