Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Research Group Seminar

Understanding pro-environmental behaviour through the lens of self-determination theory

Self-determination theory (SDT), comprising of six mini-theories, represents a universal needs-motivation based theory that has been applied to explain human behaviour, optimal human functioning and psychological well-being across a wide range of settings. These include among many others:

  • those associated with the maintenance of positive personal health behaviours ie, healthy diet and exercise
  • those that can be described as pro-social ie, philanthropic giving
  • those that can be described as pro-environmental ie, recycling, waste management and reduced natural resource consumption.

Essentially, SDT argues that when the three universal ‘basic’ needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness are both satisfied and supported, behaviour is more likely to be internally-regulated and sustained over the longer term. In addition to being universal, the three basic needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness are necessary nutrients for optimal human functioning (wellbeing).

In this seminar, Dave Webb will:

  • provide a brief overview of self-determination theory
  • introduce three studies in which I was involved that focus on different aspects of household energy consumption in a Western Australian context
  • discuss potential avenues for expansion and/or collaboration across a range of domains.

For further information, please contact Steven Hawkins at

About the speaker

Associate Professor Dave Webb

Dave Webb received his PhD degree from the University of Wales in 1995. In 1997 he moved to Australia to take up a position at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Dave’s research interests focus on the relationship between behaviours that can be described as either pro-social or pro-environmental. Work in these areas is often explored through a self-determination theory lens. Examples of research include projects exploring natural environment experiences in various but mostly remote geographic areas, the effects of solar cooker provision on the Tibetan plateau, household energy conservation as well as more recently, the contentious relationship between humans and wildlife, and here more specifically, exploring the human attitude toward wolves and wild dogs in Germany, Austria and Hungary.

In addition, Dave is also interested in the interface between marketing and personal wellbeing, the psychology of consumption, and the broad topic of responsible management (CSR, ethics and sustainability), which in recent years has included the relationship between business and human trafficking.

In terms of responsible management, Dave initiated and coordinated UWA Business School’s signatory membership of the UN PRME (United Nations Principles for Responsible Management) as well as UWA's partnership of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC).

Dave is a member of several editorial boards and in 2010 was awarded ‘Distinguished Research Fellow’ of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS) for his contributions to QOL research.