An Empirical Test of Eco-Certification Signaling in Services
33 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2012
Date Written: December 1, 2012
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: Suggested Citation