Developing Low Carbon Behaviour in the Workplace Utilising Psychology with Technology

  • Terri Bolton

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    There is a rising concern for action to be taken to reduce energy consumption to limit the effects of climate change. It is clear that this cannot be achieved by energy saving technology alone, and that behaviour also needs to be targeted. Much previous research has focussed upon residential energy use and has not grounded behaviour interventions in theory. The most relevant theory for this project was the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) due to its prevalence in the field and relevance to the target behaviour. The aim of this project was to determine if an intervention designed using the TPB as a developmental tool could lead to increased workplace low carbon behaviour (LCB), and if this behaviour can impact upon consumption when energy-saving technology was in place with differing levels of automation. A questionnaire was developed assessing the TPB constructs, the analysis of which formed the basis of behaviour intervention design. A number of case studies were conducted in different workplace environments, the largest of which being in an office. Questionnaire responses revealed a lack of actualisation of intentions and perceived behavioural control (PBC) to play a key role in LCB, which were targeted using implementation intentions (IIs), feedback and goal-setting. This significantly reduced energy consumption when no or low automated energy-saving technology was present, but not if it was highly automated. A computer-based study simulating workplace LCB followed up this study, illustrating that the TPB significantly increased the success of the intervention. Further to this, these studies revealed that IIs, feedback and goal-setting were more successful in combination, as opposed to having separate impacts. The other case studies at a university and industrial site, found that incorporating anticipated feelings of moral regret (AFMR) in the TPB significantly increased the TPB‟s ability to account for LCB in the workplace, and that it operates in a similar fashion to PBC, whereby it has both direct and indirect effects upon behaviour. It was concluded that TPB-based interventions can promote LCB to reduce workplace energy consumption when energy-saving technology has low automation, but not if it is high, and utilising the TPB as a developmental tool increases the success of interventions. Future avenues of research regarding the incorporation of AFMR and the use of TPB in workplace LCB interventions are discussed.
    Date of AwardDec 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMartin Graff (Supervisor)

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