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Who can improve the environment - me or the powerful others? : An integrative approach to locus of control and pro-environmental behavior in China

  • Many people think that only powerful institutions are effective to combat eironmental problems, especially in government-guided countries such as China. This study contrasts people’s beliefs in their own abilities to improve the eironment to their perceptions of other powers (e.g. government, corporations, higher powers, and earth-cycles). Previous research explored the impact of internal and external control beliefs on individuals’ pro-eironmental behavior mostly separately in developed Western countries. Since China’s cultural and sociopolitical eironment significantly differs from that of Western countries, we develop and test an integrated model of eironmental locus of control (ELOC) to enlighten possible interactions and simultaneous effects in China. As expected, results indicate that internal ELOC generates positive effects on Chinese people’s behaviors. But contrary to our predictions, external ELOC is positively correlated with internal factors and also positively influences behaviors. The belief in one’s own abilities outperforms the belief in others to translate the confidence into reported behaviors. Nevertheless, Chinese perceive a higher level of governmental and corporate responsibility relative to their own eironmental impacts which is driven by Confucian values (i.e. group orientation, belief in hierarchy). Compared to relatively consistent internal ELOC, the perceptions of most external ELOC factors significantly differ among provinces by levels of GDP per capita. Promotional programs should stress the individual’s significance through daily behaviors in specific ways such as green purchase, activism, advocate (e.g. persuasion of friends), and recycling. Communicating the impact of powerful institutions might not necessarily trigger responsibility diffusion, but seems to promote the sense of shared responsibility.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Xisi Yang, Anja WeberORCiD
Chairs and Professorships:Chair of Marketing Management and Sustainability
Parent Title (English):Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Year of Completion:2019
First Page:55
Last Page:67
Content Focus:Academic Audience
Peer Reviewed:Yes
Rankings:SJR Ranking / Q1
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt