Skip to main content
Contribution to Book
Environmental Locus of Control (Chapter 9)
The Psychology of Green Organizations (2015)
  • Mark Cleveland, University of Western Ontario
  • Maria Kalamas
Employees and managers are faced with the tensions ensuing between environmentally-appropriate vs. economically-suitable behaviors. An ecologically-concerned person might see little benefit in engaging in pro-environmental behaviors because such activities are futile unless others take part. Against this backdrop of shared responsibility, governments, firms, and individuals all bear the ecological burden. Environmental Locus-of-Control (ELOC) encapsulates perceptions regarding ascriptions of personal and outward obligations for environmental stewardship, which in turn derives from the person’s beliefs concerning each party’s relative abilities (or futility) to effectuate change. Internal-ELOC denotes individuals’ manifold attitudes concerning personal accountability. Individuals can delegate responsibility to powerful others: politicians and public-policy shapers, corporations and senior management; or to non-human control loci (natural earth cycle, and God/Higher-Power). External-ELOC embodies attitudes towards environmental outcomes that individuals deem attributable to extraneous forces. This chapter elucidates the theoretical underpinnings of ELOC, reviews the empirical findings on the concept, and discusses its application to organizational contexts. Economic activities are collectively the largest source of greenhouse gasses; solutions to environmental degradation must include the organizational sphere and all its constituent actors. Since employees and other stakeholders are also consumers, their internal dispositions and responses to social and situational influences are highly relevant when performing either role. The broader foundational concept, locus-of-control (LOC) has been applied to many workplace settings. ELOC shares theoretical linkages with numerous organizational topics, including motivation and task performance, recruitment/retention, as well as leadership and organizational citizenship behaviors. Regarding corporate sustainability, ELOC is relevant to the legal and competitive/strategic spheres.
  • Environmental Locus of Control,
  • Management,
  • Marketing,
  • Proenvironmental attitudes,
  • Proenvironmental behaviors
Publication Date
Jennifer Robertson & Julian Barling
Oxford University Press
Citation Information
Mark Cleveland and Maria Kalamas. "Environmental Locus of Control (Chapter 9)" OxfordThe Psychology of Green Organizations (2015)
Available at: