Employee proenvironmental behavior in Russia: The roles of top management commitment, managerial leadership, and employee motives

Laura M. Graves*, Joseph Sarkis, Natalia Gold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Despite Russia's large ecological footprint, there has been limited examination of environmental sustainability initiatives in Russian corporations. Drawing on research on the importance of employee-level behaviors for the success of corporate sustainability initiatives, we focus on the proenvironmental behaviors (PEBs) of Russian employees. We integrate scholarship on employees’ PEBs and the Russian cultural context to offer theory regarding three potentially important antecedents of employees’ PEBs: top management commitment to sustainability, the immediate manager's environmental leadership, and the employee's motivation. Using self-report data from management development program attendees in Russia (N = 165), we examined the links between these factors and employees’ PEBs. We also tested whether top management commitment moderated the impact of immediate managers’ leadership on employees’ PEBs. We found that the immediate manager's active environmental leadership (i.e., transformational, contingent reward, and active management by exception) was positively related to employees’ PEBs. Managers’ passive-avoidant environmental leadership (i.e., passive management by exception and laissez-faire) was negatively related to PEBs, but only when top management was committed to sustainability. Employees’ motives were linked to PEBs, but the nature of the relationship varied across motives. External motivation was negatively related to PEBs, suggesting that using rewards to motivate PEBs may be detrimental. Motivation that came from a desire to fulfill one's values or avoid feeling bad about oneself was positively associated with PEBs. Our work provides a foundation for future research on PEBs in Russia, and suggests new directions for research on employees’ PEBs in other settings.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue numberJanuary
Pages (from-to)54-64
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Russia
  • Corporate environmental sustainability
  • Employee proenvironmental behaviors
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Self-determination theory

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoHP: Humanitarian and societal logistics


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