Relationships among Individual Green Orientation, Employee Perceptions of Organizational Commitment to the Green Movement, and Organizational Culture: A Comparative Study of Jamaica and the United States

By Fok, Lillian Y.; Zee, Susan M. L. et al. | Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, July 2012 | Go to article overview

Relationships among Individual Green Orientation, Employee Perceptions of Organizational Commitment to the Green Movement, and Organizational Culture: A Comparative Study of Jamaica and the United States


Fok, Lillian Y., Zee, Susan M. L., Hartman, Sandra J., Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict


INTRODUCTION

In this research, we consider how employees' perceptions of the organization's commitment to the "green" movement are related to individual green orientation, organizational culture, and organization performance in two cultures: US and Jamaica. A stimulus for our work has been widespread recent discussion of the need to shift attention in Quality Management programs to issues of sustainability, a concept that is central to the green movement.

The Green Movement

Recent events, and especially rising gasoline prices, a depressed housing market, and instabilities in the world economy, have led to considerable discussion of the current status of the "green movement", a phenomenon that has appeared over the past 20 years (Stafford, 2003). It encompasses areas such as "green buying" by consumers (Mainieri, et al., 1997), Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) by government agencies and ultimately by organizations in the private sector (Elwood & Case, 2000), Environmentally Benign Design and Manufacturing (EBDM) (Newsdesk, 2006), and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) (Blodget, 2007). In each case, discussion has centered on purchasing, manufacturing, and investing in ways, which are environmentally beneficial. Historically, emphasis has been placed on insuring that EPP products are attractive to consumers (Ottman, Stafford & Hartman, 2006; Dale, 2008) and insuring that organizations have sufficient incentives to behave in environmentally-constructive ways (Elwood & Case, 2000).

In contrast, a second stream in the literature has suggested that the "green movement" may be in decline. Specifically, one of the "Current Issues in the Greening of Industry" (July 2007) suggests that the current "new-found environmental ethic" may be somewhat ephemeral and that "... corporate greening could go bust" in ways analogous to other recent fad-like phenomena. Moreover, Stafford (2003) points out that "... green issues as a whole appear to be taking a back seat to concerns of terrorism, war, and the economy." However, Dale (2008) points out that, with soaring energy prices pushing up the price of mainstream goods, green products are becoming just as--or even more--affordable these days. Stafford also notes that concerns about oil could lead to a movement to reduce dependence on oil in the U.S., and thus foster this aspect of the green movement.

During this unsettled period, one important set of questions centers upon consumers, who, themselves are employees as well, and the issue of determining the extent of their commitment to the green movement. We have recently (Li, Hartman & Zee, 2009) reported our initial work to design a scale to measure commitment to the green movement. Our emphasis was on development of an instrument which would tap the key concerns of the green movement. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, points out that the Green Movement originated from Green Politics, a political ideology. Greens, the supporters of the green movement, advocate green politics and place a high importance on ecological and environmental goals. The greens share many ideas with the Ecology movement. Conservation movements, environmental movements, feminist movements, the peace movement, and social justice are the issues they focus upon as well. We reported encouraging initial findings, which suggest that the instrument can be used to examine consumer/employee commitment.

Environmental friendliness and sustainability are the major concerns of green products, green manufacturing and service, and green organizations (Liu & He, 2005). All of the green activities, such as reducing waste, using harmless materials, and providing organic food can be placed under the umbrella of greening. Providing a clean, ethical and safe environment to human beings and all creatures is the goal of green movement, and is one which potentially requires the efforts of all the people, industries and governments on the earth (Grewe 2002; Holden 2004; Patulny & Norris, 2005; Tiemstra, 2003).

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