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Title: Pro-environmental behaviours of hospitality employees : a practice theory approach
Author: Chawla, Gaurav
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 4626
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2019
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It has been argued that the social and environmental issues facing our world today are rooted in human behaviours (Vlek & Steg, 2007). For that reason, many policy initiatives in the UK seek to promote behaviours that minimise negative impact on the natural environment. Pro-environmental behaviours (PEBs) have also been the focus of academic and practice based research. Researchers from multiple disciplines such as environmental psychology, sociology and behavioural economics have investigated PEBs from competing perspectives. The present thesis analyses PEBs of hotel employees through the lens of social practice theory. Practices that collectively constitute the hospitality food cycle were examined, and a practice change was initiated. Two large, 5-star hotels were selected based on criterion sampling. Qualitative data were gathered using document analysis, critical incident log, semi-structured interviews and participant observation. Thematic analysis was employed to analyse qualitative data. In addition, data triangulation was used to increase the trustworthiness of findings. Analysis of primary data reveals that food waste is viewed as inevitable and a necessary evil in hospitality operations. Though multiple stages of the food cycle are responsible for food waste, a systematic approach is not adopted. Many routine practices that lead to wastage of edible food have achieved normative status. Employees' views on the topic are divergent; while managers regard food waste as a financial issue, general level employees perceive waste prevention as extra work. Waste prevention is also entangled in the web of organisational politics. Furthermore, sustainable disposal is prioritised over waste prevention. The data suggest that a change in practice can help to mobilise behaviour change. If PEBs are to be encouraged, social practices need to be configured accordingly. However, the impact of practice change on behaviours is indirect through dispositional factors. A change in existing practice can be hindered, unless the new practice is supported by the individual's environmental dispositions. This thesis therefore argues that the relationship between social practices and behaviours is recursive. The findings also establish that employees' behaviours are influenced by a multitude of forces, such as organisational, social, dispositional and external factors. These drivers of behaviours are interrelated, operate collectively, may support or sometimes even conflict with one another. Hence, it is impossible to divorce one from the other. Therefore, a multi-disciplinary moral-normative-rational approach to decoding PEBs is recommended. This thesis makes some important contributions to existing knowledge about PEBs within the workplace context. It is evident that PEBs at the workplace are driven by different forces compared to those in private sphere. Hence, contextual factors are arguably one of the strongest drivers of PEBs. The study establishes that contextual factors interact with dispositional drivers of PEB. It is clear that PEBs are bundled and some people have inherent predispositions towards PEBs. Although PEBs are a mixture of self as well as other oriented motives, self-interest may circumscribe impact of altruism within an organisational context. Keywords: Pro-environmental behaviours, practice theory, food waste, sustainability, environmental psychology, behaviour change, environmental management, hospitality.
Supervisor: Hawkins, Rebecca ; Lugosi, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral