The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Factors Influencing Environmentally Responsible Behavior in the Finnish Service Sector

Marketta Koivisto

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management for public examination and debate in Auditorium TU1 at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 25th of April, 2008, at 12 noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 978-951-22-9309-4)   [724 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 978-951-22-9308-7)


Companies and society are increasingly interested in the environmental impacts caused by their various actions. The environmental impacts of industrial activities have been considerably reduced as a result of increased economic and normative steering. However, the majority of organizations nowadays operate in the service sector where normative steering is rare. This study concentrates on finding factors that encourage environmentally responsible behavior in service sector companies. Research on this area has until now been lacking.

The methodological choices are quantitative survey research and a qualitative case study. The survey examined the effect that employees' environmental knowledge, attitudes, social pressure, and the company's environmental management system have on environmentally responsible behavior. 756 office workers' in four different companies answered the survey. The case study investigated the efficiency of electricity saving measures in a service company.

The research results consist of three main findings. Firstly, the research shows that knowledge of causes of environmental problems does not lead to environmentally responsible behavior without appropriate environmental training being organized by the employer. Secondly, the results indicate that environmental training in companies improves employees' knowledge of both how to behave in an environmentally responsible manner and also of the environmental and economic effects of environmental behavior. Thirdly, the research results suggest that environmental training should be repeated regularly.

This study presents new empirical knowledge of employees' environmental behavior and the factors affecting it in service sector companies. Companies aiming to improve their environmental efficiency can use these results in decision-making. Further research is needed to evaluate the content and curriculum of environmental training. The duration of the impact of environmental training and the need for further training are of additional interest.

Keywords: environmental behavior, environmental management, sustainable development, environmental knowledge, organizational learning

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© 2008 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26