An Empirical Test of Eco-Certification Signaling in Services

33 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2012

See all articles by Jie J. Zhang

Jie J. Zhang

University of Vermont - School of Business Administration

Nitin Joglekar

Boston University - Questrom School of Business

Rohit Verma

Cornell University - School of Hotel Administration

Date Written: December 1, 2012

Abstract

Eco-certifications of services, which are voluntary environmental programs certifying sustainable features related to customer experience, are an area of emerging interest to operations management. Yet there is little consensus on how eco-certifications may influence customer experience and operational performance. Proponents argue that eco-certifications may enable customers to make informed decisions and promote sustainability through service co-production between the service providers and customers. But critics caution that eco-certifications may be abused for misleading customers and contribute to greenwashing. This paper aims to understand the effects of eco-certification signaling on customer green consumption and operational performance in contemporary service settings. We combine theories of signaling games and service co-production to generate hypotheses and test them using a sample of 3,200 properties in the U.S. hotel industry. The findings indicate that third party guaranteed and auditable eco-certifications relate positively to customer green consumption in service operations and may mitigate greenwashing as a result.

Keywords: Service co-production, signaling game, eco-certification, greenwashing 

JEL Classification: L8, D8

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Jie J. and Joglekar, Nitin and Verma, Rohit, An Empirical Test of Eco-Certification Signaling in Services (December 1, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2190952 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2190952

Jie J. Zhang (Contact Author)

University of Vermont - School of Business Administration ( email )

Burlington, VT 05405
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.uvm.edu/business/?Page=profile.php&id=423

Nitin Joglekar

Boston University - Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02466
United States

Rohit Verma

Cornell University - School of Hotel Administration ( email )

435B Statler Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-6902
United States

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