Towards Changing Global Mobility Patterns: Investigating Individuals' Pro-environmental Intentions Formation in the Airline Industry Context

Kamila Anna Raszpunda

Student thesis: Master thesis


There is almost an unambiguous agreement that climate change is likely to jeopardize various aspects of people’s lives in the near future. Even though more and more individuals become environmentally conscious, acknowledging the destructive contribution of some industries remains neglected. One prominent example is aviation, which impacts on climate change has yet to be understood by many. Indeed, individuals from neoliberal societies increasingly value binge mobility and psychological benefits gained through air travel. Nonetheless, to slow climate change down, there is a need to act upon it on an individual level by changing one’s mobility patterns.
This study aims to holistically understand the formation of pro-environmental intentions amongst individuals in the context of aviation. Specifically, personal and social norms are known to directly predict intentions. Moreover, flying shame, yet to be investigated in academia, potentially affects intentions formation likewise. Finally, legitimacy as a perception approach is incorporated into the conceptual framework and forms the fourth direct antecedent of intentions. Overall, the conceptual framework is based on the Norm Activation Model, broadened with the Value-Attitude-Behavior hierarchy, the Theory of Planned Behavior, and two individual concepts - social norm and anticipated feeling of guilt. To reach this study’s objectives, quantitative research approach was adopted. Specifically, the data was collected through an online survey on a sample of Denmark’s residents. Multiple regression analyses further analyzed the data.
The findings indicate that personal and social norms only partially influence pro-environmental intentions. On the other hand, flying shame was evidenced to affect all the intentions included in the framework. In contrast, an individual’s legitimacy judgment was found not to be significant at all.
To sum up, this research enhances the holistic understanding of pro-environmental intentions formation within aviation, taking account of the concepts of flying shame and legitimacy as a perception, not previously investigated in such context within the environmental psychology field. As for limitations, the study was not cross-cultural, measured intentions towards solely short-route journeys, and made assumptions on how to adequately measure flying shame. Finally, the findings may be of value for policymakers, activists, NGOs, and brands wishing to act upon changing consumers’ mobility patterns towards more environmentally friendly ones.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages103
SupervisorsAlexander Josiassen