Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Management, Operations and Marketing


Organisations face a growing imperative to minimise their environmental impact, often as a result of pressure from sources including government legislation, consumer demands and emerging competitors. As a result they seek to change how their internal stakeholders, namely management and employees, carry out their work tasks and behaviours. This type of micro-level change requires an understanding of a range of factors including the effect of entrenched individual habit, the internal cultural and political forces at play, and the nature and effect of communication strategies. This presents an opportunity to investigate the application of social marketing, with its proven record of success in behaviour change initiatives at a community level, in an organisational setting. This extension of social marketing practice is termed within this thesis “organisation based social marketing” (OBSM).

The fields of change management, internal marketing, social marketing, and the comparatively newer area of internal social marketing informed this research which extended understanding of the barriers to inter-organisational behaviour change. This study viewed organisations through the lens of social marketing and aimed to explore the influences on internal stakeholder behaviour using the introduction of proenvironmental behaviour programs as the research setting. The analysis identified the emergent concepts that affected internal stakeholders and underpinned the development of the OBSM framework.

The exploratory nature of the study justified the use of a qualitative methodology which facilitated the gathering of rich data about how research participants understood and experienced their involvement in change. Multiple case analysis further facilitated the exploration of the topic by building on and comparing findings from three participating organisations. These large non-profit organisations were chosen because they had embarked on planned pro-environmental change, had designated resources, and had established clear goals, policies and structures.

The research found that two conceptual groupings operated within organisations during the change process: the organisational silo which consisted of culture, leadership, embedded practice, resources, review and continuity; and the individual silo which comprised consultation, communication, validation, empowerment, engagement, and leadership. These conceptual groupings, drawn from the research findings, operated within the OBSM framework in order to bring about behaviour change of an organisation’s internal stakeholders.

This thesis makes a significant contribution to academic knowledge and the development of the social marketing in the form of OBSM. Research findings outlined implications for managers, while the framework that has been developed could assist organisations in the introduction of pro-environmental behaviour and sustainability initiatives. Further research in other settings, such as the application of OBSM to the behaviour change challenges within profit based organisations, is also suggested.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.