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  • 2017Andrewsphd

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Psychosocial factors affecting enactment of pro-environmental values by individuals in their work to influence organisational practices

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2017
Number of pages423
Awarding Institution
Award date21/03/2017
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


While studies indicate there is a strong link between pro-environmental values and behaviour, they also show that such values are not necessarily enacted consistently across all areas of our lives. There are many psychosocial factors that can affect congruent enactment. Improving our understanding of what these factors are and how they influence cognition and behaviour is critical for subverting our inadequate response to ecological crisis, yet it is an area that remains under explored. In this thesis I investigate factors affecting enactment of pro-environmental values by individuals in organisational contexts. Integrating Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis with frame and metaphor analysis in an innovative transdisciplinary and cross-level methodology, my study enquires into the lived, embodied and situated experience of six sustainability managers and leaders in the UK and Canada in their work to influence pro-environmental practices in their organisations. Using semi- structured interviews as the primary data source, over 70 highly nuanced and in-depth findings are generated, enriching our understanding of psychological threat coping strategies from a systemic perspective:
• Sources of threats and tensions that arise for sustainability managers in their work to influence organisational practices (e.g. thwarted autonomy, competency or relatedness needs, incongruence in values)
• Types of coping strategies used to negotiate these tensions (including identity work, emotion regulation, seeking support from external partners, constructing a motivational story, nature connection)
• Ecologically adaptive and maladaptive outcomes of these responses for the individual and the organisation (including indirect impacts on vitality and effectiveness)
• Factors affecting the efficacy of adaptive coping strategies (e.g. type of motivation, type of self-awareness, cognitive frames about nature)
• Contextual factors (organisational, cultural worldview)
• How these factors interact with each other, creating feedback loops
The conceptual models I have constructed make these largely unconscious psychosocial processes visible; and may be of practical use to individuals in facilitating deeper awareness of the dynamics in their situation and helping to identify where interventions can be made to improve their efficacy and resilience in influencing pro-environmental change in their organisations.

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