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Engaging hairdressers in pro-environmental behaviours

Engaging hairdressers in pro-environmental behaviours
Engaging hairdressers in pro-environmental behaviours
The project explores the efficacy of an innovative bottom-up social marketing approach to encourage pro-environmental behaviour, using hairdressers as ‘catalytic individuals’ to diffuse knowledge relating to responsible chemical, energy and water use across their social networks. Hairdressers use a lot of energy, water and chemicals, but our research last year (Baden, 2010) indicated that, despite the increased concerns and public pronouncements on the importance of sustainability, little awareness has filtered into the hairdressing sector. This lack of attention to environmental issues by hairdressers then constitutes a social norm that is antagonistic to sustainability awareness, especially hair-washing, drying and colouring, which are activities that are also carried out at home. Thus the study aims to engage hairdressers, both in developing their own sustainability practices, and as ‘catalytic individuals’ to diffuse practices and ideas relating to responsible chemical, energy and water use across their social networks.

The project isin the form of action research:

Action Selected hairdressers will be interviewed to assess their current sustainability practices and extent to which they provide a model of environmentally friendly behaviours (e.g. reduced toxicity of hair products, water conservation, low use of energy in terms of drying and style) either through their practices or through their conversations with customers. Our pilot research found zero examples of such sustainability awareness, but a willingness to engage with the topic further.

Twenty five hairdressers will then be invited to an event to raise awareness of sustainability issues in their work and encouraged to come up with their own ideas to reduce environmental impacts. We plan to create positive attitudes towards the project by making the event fun, with food and drink and inspirational speakers. A follow up event will be held four months later to share what worked and what didn’t and engage the hairdressers in developing best practice benchmarks for their industry, and to enable them to attain the Steps Towards Environmental Management (STEM) certification. We plan to hold two events and two follow-up events, with a total sample size of 50 hairdressers.

The research part of the action research will look at how hairdressers can be used to disseminate information about sustainability to the general public. Social networking theory proposes that information is best disseminated by weak ties (Granovetter, 1973). Diffusion of Innovations theory explores social networks and their role in influencing the spread of new ideas and practices. Of all occupations, hairdressers spend the most time generally chatting to a wide variety of people and comprise a weak tie for many. The research plans to explore the extent to which hairdressers involved in the development of sustainability benchmarks talk to their customers and other colleagues about sustainability and act as a diffuser of information on sustainability in areas related to the use of water, electricity and chemicals.

This is cross disciplinary proposal which brings some of the theoretical insights from the disparate areas of network modelling (social network theory, diffusion theory); social psychology (e.g. self-determination theory, social learning theory, social norms) and marketing (word of mouth marketing, social marketing, catalytic individuals) and sustainability management together in one project that has real potential, both to transform a particular sector, and to test the efficacy of developing a more innovative and bottom-up approach to social marketing to address our urgent need for a transition to a low carbon economy.

The Economic and Social Research Council
Baden, D.
daad83b9-c537-4d3c-bab6-548b841f23b5
Baden, D.
daad83b9-c537-4d3c-bab6-548b841f23b5

Baden, D. (2012) Engaging hairdressers in pro-environmental behaviours London, GB. The Economic and Social Research Council

Record type: Monograph (Project Report)

Abstract

The project explores the efficacy of an innovative bottom-up social marketing approach to encourage pro-environmental behaviour, using hairdressers as ‘catalytic individuals’ to diffuse knowledge relating to responsible chemical, energy and water use across their social networks. Hairdressers use a lot of energy, water and chemicals, but our research last year (Baden, 2010) indicated that, despite the increased concerns and public pronouncements on the importance of sustainability, little awareness has filtered into the hairdressing sector. This lack of attention to environmental issues by hairdressers then constitutes a social norm that is antagonistic to sustainability awareness, especially hair-washing, drying and colouring, which are activities that are also carried out at home. Thus the study aims to engage hairdressers, both in developing their own sustainability practices, and as ‘catalytic individuals’ to diffuse practices and ideas relating to responsible chemical, energy and water use across their social networks.

The project isin the form of action research:

Action Selected hairdressers will be interviewed to assess their current sustainability practices and extent to which they provide a model of environmentally friendly behaviours (e.g. reduced toxicity of hair products, water conservation, low use of energy in terms of drying and style) either through their practices or through their conversations with customers. Our pilot research found zero examples of such sustainability awareness, but a willingness to engage with the topic further.

Twenty five hairdressers will then be invited to an event to raise awareness of sustainability issues in their work and encouraged to come up with their own ideas to reduce environmental impacts. We plan to create positive attitudes towards the project by making the event fun, with food and drink and inspirational speakers. A follow up event will be held four months later to share what worked and what didn’t and engage the hairdressers in developing best practice benchmarks for their industry, and to enable them to attain the Steps Towards Environmental Management (STEM) certification. We plan to hold two events and two follow-up events, with a total sample size of 50 hairdressers.

The research part of the action research will look at how hairdressers can be used to disseminate information about sustainability to the general public. Social networking theory proposes that information is best disseminated by weak ties (Granovetter, 1973). Diffusion of Innovations theory explores social networks and their role in influencing the spread of new ideas and practices. Of all occupations, hairdressers spend the most time generally chatting to a wide variety of people and comprise a weak tie for many. The research plans to explore the extent to which hairdressers involved in the development of sustainability benchmarks talk to their customers and other colleagues about sustainability and act as a diffuser of information on sustainability in areas related to the use of water, electricity and chemicals.

This is cross disciplinary proposal which brings some of the theoretical insights from the disparate areas of network modelling (social network theory, diffusion theory); social psychology (e.g. self-determination theory, social learning theory, social norms) and marketing (word of mouth marketing, social marketing, catalytic individuals) and sustainability management together in one project that has real potential, both to transform a particular sector, and to test the efficacy of developing a more innovative and bottom-up approach to social marketing to address our urgent need for a transition to a low carbon economy.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: March 2012
Organisations: HRM and Organisational Behaviour

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 335210
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/335210
PURE UUID: f1e70d51-072c-4975-80f2-d3cada40569d

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Mar 2012 10:33
Last modified: 03 Dec 2018 17:34

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