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Extending norm activation theory to understand publics' support for environmentally responsible organizations

Jeyoung Oh (Department of Language and Communication, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, Michigan, USA)
Eyun-Jung Ki (Department of Advertising and Public Relations, College of Communication and Information Sciences, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 28 December 2022

Issue publication date: 17 April 2023




Previous studies have empirically examined the positive outcomes organizations can achieve by engaging in environmentally responsible actions, but the underlying mechanism of the reasons why publics engage in supportive behaviors for those organizations has not been examined in light of theoretical foundations. To fill this gap, this paper builds on a foundation of norm activation theory to explore the effect of publics' awareness of environmental consequences on perceived environmental responsibility of organizations and organizational norm, which can have an impact on publics' supportive behavior toward environmentally responsible organizations. The potential relationships between social media use for environmental information and other variables are also explored.


Drawing on norm activation theory, an online survey was conducted among 288 adults in the United States. Participants were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk.


Findings indicate the impact of individuals' awareness of environmental consequences on their ascription of responsibility to organizations, which influences organizational norm and supportive behavior intention toward organizations.


This study is one of the first attempts to explore the underlying mechanism of publics' support for environmentally responsible organizations.



Oh, J. and Ki, E.-J. (2023), "Extending norm activation theory to understand publics' support for environmentally responsible organizations", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 381-399.



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