CEO environmentally responsible leadership and firm environmental innovation: A socio-psychological perspective

Yanxia Wang, Tao Shen, Yang Chen, Abraham Carmeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Manufacturing firms face increasing pressure to seek innovative solutions to environmental perils. Addressing such challenges requires responsible leadership that embraces a normative and stewardship approach for environmentally sustainable system. However, the question of whether and how CEO environmentally responsible leadership can drive firm environmental innovation has yet to be addressed. We develop and test a serial mediation model that specifies socio-psychological mechanisms through which environmentally responsible CEOs influence firm environmental innovation. To test the model, we use a two-wave multi-source dataset of top- and middle-level managers in 125 manufacturing firms in China. We find that environmentally responsible CEOs drive environmental innovation by developing a sense of collective environmental identification, which facilitates middle-level managers’ engagement in the organizational citizenship behavior associated with a more sustainable environment. Our research delineates the power of CEOs’ responsible leadership and its potential to help organizations that face growing pressure to increase environmental innovation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-340
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business Research
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


We are appreciative of the editor and reviewers’ comments on an earlier version of this paper. This research was sponsored by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71502142 , 71802102 ). The last author appreciates the support of Jeremy Coller Foundation (No. 20189), The Eli Hurvitz institute of Strategic Management (No. 20191), and The Henry Crown Institute of Business Research in Israel (No. 2019-2).

FundersFunder number
Eli Hurvitz Institute of Strategic Management20191
Henry Crown Institute of Business Research in Israel2019-2
Jeremy Coller Foundation20189
National Natural Science Foundation of China71502142, 71802102


    • Collective environmental identification
    • Environmental innovation
    • Environmentally responsible leadership
    • Pro-environmental behaviors


    Dive into the research topics of 'CEO environmentally responsible leadership and firm environmental innovation: A socio-psychological perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this