What motivates environmental leadership behavior: An empirical analysis in Taiwan

Xuejiao NIU, Xiaohui WANG, Hanyu XIAO

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Leaders in the public sector play a critical role in formulating and implementing environmental policies. However, existing studies mainly attribute policy actions and outcomes to institutional factors, while the roles of individual public administrators are largely ignored. This empirical analysis satisfies this gap by answering the following questions: Why do some administrative leaders do more than others in environmental protection? What motivates them? How does motivation work in various organizational contexts? We develop a model based on the literature on environmental leadership and environmental psychology, and then test it with first-ever data collected from a survey and in-depth interviews in Taiwan central government. We find that environmental leaders are motivated by both extrinsic instrumental causes for self-interests (economic opportunities or legal compliance etc.) and intrinsic normative reasons to engage in broad issues in sustainability, though the formers are clearly more influential. Moreover, environmental leadership is augmented in amicable institutional conditions for environmental protection. We discuss the relevance of these findings in environmental policies and management. This research contributes to the literature on and practice of the subject by examining the increasingly important situational leadership aspect of public management, which has hardly been studied, and unveils unique circumstances for decision-making. Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-187
JournalJournal of Asian Public Policy
Issue number2
Early online date14 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Niu, X., Wang, X., & Xiao, H. (2018). What motivates environmental leadership behavior: An empirical analysis in Taiwan. Journal of Asian Public Policy, 11(2), 173-187. doi: 10.1080/17516234.2017.1353940


  • Environmental leadership
  • Environmental policy-making
  • Public sector motivational factors
  • Public policy and management in Taiwan


Dive into the research topics of 'What motivates environmental leadership behavior: An empirical analysis in Taiwan'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.