Award winning research on the influence of leaders on employees’ environmentally responsible behaviors.
Jennifer Robertson is an Assistant Professor in the department of Management and Organizational Studies, and is cross-appointed as an Adjunct Research Professor with Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She also is a Visiting Research Fellow at Leeds University, in Leeds, UK. Her research focuses on psychological issues involved in corporate environmental responsibility and the nature and prediction of leadership.
Recently, Robertson was awarded an Emerald Citations of Excellence Award for her paper, “Greening Organizations Through Leaders’ Influence on Employees’ Pro-Environmental Behaviors,” published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior. This award recognizes the most outstanding articles published by the top 300 management journals in the world.
The paper investigated the influence of leaders on employees’ environmentally responsible behaviors. Specifically, the research investigated whether leaders can influence employees by enacting environmentally responsible behaviors themselves, and through the use of environmental transformational leadership, a positive and active style of leadership that is focused on corporate environmental responsibility.
The study found that if leaders actively engage in environmentally sustainable practices, employees are more likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviour at work as well. Further, the study showed that leaders can indirectly (by first evoking employees’ passion for the environment) influence their followers’ pro-environmental behaviours when they share their values; convince followers that they can achieve at levels previously considered almost impossible; help employees think about issues in new ways; and establish a relationship with their employees through which they can exert an influence on pro-environmental behaviours.
Robertson’s novel application of the transformational leadership style to corporate environmental responsibility, along with the paper’s high citation count and the research’s relevance to the world today earned the paper an Emerald Citations of Excellence Award.
Along with the Emerald Citation Award, the award winning paper has also appeared on Oxford Psychology’s Website, and was featured by the Queen’s School of Business as a Research Brief. It has also been highlighted in the corporate world; Robertson’s research is included in Steam Whistle Brewing’s reading materials.
Other research of Robertson’s has examined how leaders can work to create a corporate climate of environmental sustainability, as well as how Chinese organizations’ corporate social responsibility activities can impact employees’ environmental attitudes and behaviors.