Purpose: The Chinese firms are keenly focused on reducing
their environmental footprints as part of the competitive strategy. Within the
context of sustainable organizations in China, we test a multilevel framework
that examined the impact of environmental-specific servant leadership on the
green individual (pro-environmental behaviour) and team (project green
performance) outcomes within projects. Using social identity theory, we
theorize and test the mediating role of green self-identity (individual level)
and team green identification (team level) in the relationships between
environmental-specific servant leadership, pro-environmental behaviour, and
project green performance.
Design/methodology/approach: We used survey questionnaires to collect multi-level and multi-wave data from 42 ongoing project-based sustainable organisations in China. The multilevel team to individual-level hypothesis were analysed using multilevel-modelling via Mplus, while team level hypotheses were tested using ordinary least squares regression.
Findings: The multilevel regression analysis showed that environmental-specific servant leadership has a trickle-down effect of green self-identity, which subsequently predicts pro-environmental behaviour. The ordinary least squares regression results demonstrated that environmental-specific servant leadership predicts project green performance via team green identification. Also, environmental-specific servant leadership has a positive and direct impact on pro-environmental behaviour and project green performance.
Originality: The study is among the first to understand the role of environmental-specific servant leadership in predicting individual and team level environment-related mediator and outcomes simultaneously.
Research limitations/implications: We offer community and service dimension of leadership as a determinant of environmental performance at multiple levels. We provide managerial and policy implications to Chinese organizations striving to re-position themselves as eco-friendly organizations both nationally and globally.
Keywords: Environmental-Specific Servant Leadership; green self-identity; team green-identification, pro-environment behaviour; project green performance; multi-level analysis; mainland China