Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Industrial - Organizational Psychology

Committee Director

Xiaoxiao Hu

Committee Member

Violet Xu

Committee Member

Andrew Bennett


Researchers’ understanding of the relationships between environmentally-oriented organizational citizenship behaviors (i.e., OCB-Es) and other workplace variables have improved since the turn of the century, but both our comprehension of the behaviors and the effectiveness of interventions targeting them require much more investigation. Further, there is very little research that examines the role of positive affect in promoting these behaviors, even though scholars have suggested that it may be the “silver bullet” (Kals & Müller, 2012) to facilitating employees’ voluntary environmental actions. To that end, the aim of the current research is to take an initial step towards understanding how organizations can use a subtle affective stimulus intervention to increase employees’ OCB-Es, as well as how stable personality traits may moderate this relationship. The current experimental field-study was designed to increase OCBEs via repeated exposure to a positively valenced subtle stimulus (i.e., a picture of a person smiling). In addition to examining positive affect as a mediator of this relationship, I also investigated how certain personality traits (i.e., openness to experience and conscientiousness) may both moderate the relationship between positive affect and OCB-Es and directly affect them.

Although neither the proposed relationship between the subtle stimulus and positive affect nor the indirect effect of the stimulus on OCB-Es via positive affect for two of the three performance dimensions were supported, results did demonstrate a mediation effect of the III smiling picture on eco-initiative OCB-Es via positive affect. Additionally, the path analytic results found a direct relationship between openness to experience and eco-civic engagement OCB-Es, and a moderation effect of openness on the relationship to positive affect and ecoinitiative OCB-Es. Unfortunately, the direct and moderation effects for conscientiousness and OCB-Es failed to demonstrate significance. Theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and future directions based on these findings are discussed.


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