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.
Stritch, J. M., & Christensen, R. K. (2014). Going green in public organizations: Linking organizational commitment and public service motives to public employees’ workplace eco-initiatives. The American Review of Public Administration,doi:10.1177/0275074014552470