Recycling today, sustainability tomorrow: effects of psychological distance on behavioural practice

Schill, M. and Shaw, D. (2016) Recycling today, sustainability tomorrow: effects of psychological distance on behavioural practice. European Management Journal, 34(4), pp. 349-362. (doi: 10.1016/j.emj.2016.05.004)

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Much research has reported an attitude-behaviour gap in ecological behaviours. This research seeks to contribute important insights to this literature through a study that uses construal level theory (CLT) to understand the role and impact of psychological distance in explaining sustainable and recycling behaviours. Using a qualitative approach, the research found that consistency between mental construal and all dimensions of psychological distance was pertinent to recycling and sustainable behaviours. While theoretically CLT suggests there should be consistency across psychological distance dimensions and mental construal, there is limited research that explores all distance dimensions. Further, highlighted was the need for a near distance perspective to move individuals to behavioural action. Contrary to previous research, this served to facilitate rather than inhibit behavioural action. Finally, the results suggest that where sustainable behaviours are facilitated and/or required engagement in behaviour can be increased. These findings are important for public policy by highlighting the need to represent recycling behaviour in terms of temporal, spatial, social and hypothetical closeness.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shaw, Professor Deirdre
Authors: Schill, M., and Shaw, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:European Management Journal
ISSN (Online):1873-5681
Published Online:04 June 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Elsevier
First Published:First published in European Management Journal 34(4): 349-362
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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