Activists, pragmatists, technophiles and tree-huggers? Gender differences in employees' environmental attitudes

Journal of Business Ethics 28 (3):211 - 222 (2000)
Although there are suggestions that the environmental attitudes of men and of women differ, there have been few studies that study and evaluate these differences at the workplace. Given the claim of Ecofeminist writers about the environmental superiority of women's environmental attitudes, and the proclaimed need of business to change attitudes and behaviour with regard to the environment, this is a surprise. The paper is based on 1022 (37% from women) questionnaires which were collected in a U.K. pharmaceutical company, and it compares the empirical results with environmental attitude archetypes, such as those prescribed by O'Riordan. However, the attitude clusters that were found do not correspond greatly with such theoretical modes of environmental ethics. Instead, it appears that women were more likely to be actively involved in environmental behaviour, and showed greater scepticism towards the role of technology in the search for solutions to environmental problems. In addition, men sought to a much greater extent a consistency between an environmental rationality and their behaviour. Men's attitudes were also much more influenced by their position in the organisational hierarchy. There were few significant differences across age groups.
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