Self-discipline or self-interest? The antecedents of hotel employees' pro-environmental behaviours

Xuerong Peng, Seoki Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Motivating employees to engage in pro-environmental behaviours is an essential topic in the tourism and hotel fields. This paper advances this research direction by integrating the mechanisms of cognition and incentives from the externalities/spillovers perspective. This paper argues that we can view the environmental and financial benefits received by hotels and natural environment as positive spillovers from employees' voluntary pro-environmental behaviours. Accordingly, internalization (the subject of positive spillovers cognitively perceives oneness with beneficiaries like hotels and physical environment) and compensation (beneficiaries offer incentives for positive spillovers' subject) are two leading solutions to the positive spillovers issue, which can improve employees' engagement in pro-environmental behaviours. Hence, this paper explores the impact of employees' cognitive internalization (work ethic) and positive incentives from the organization and nature (hotel's environmental benefit sharing and health rewards rooted in employees' ecological embeddedness) on employees' pro-environmental behaviours in the hotel industry. The empirical analysis of a sample of 324 employees working in Chinese luxury hotels suggests that employees' work ethic, hotel's environmental benefit sharing and employees' ecological embeddedness are significantly positively related to employees' pro-environmental behaviours and that the interplay of employees' work ethic and ecological embeddedness significantly and negatively affects employees' pro-environmental behaviours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1457-1476
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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