Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Lilburn Hoehn

Abstract

As the corporate world, communities, and individuals become more globalized and demands on natural resources increase, a new emphasis on environmental leadership including a new pragmatic environmental ethos is needed to meet certain basic human needs of future generations. The research problem addressed in this study was the lack of knowledge concerning how environmental cognitive dissonance influences consumption practices related to inefficient resource utilization and ecosystem degradation. The purpose of this study was to provide an understanding of the breadth and depth of environmental cognitive dissonance among visitors to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. The research questions addressed the development, manifestation, and mitigation of environmental cognitive dissonance. This qualitative case study was designed for a purposeful sample of 12 participants visiting the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Data were collected via structured interviews, field observations, and questionnaires, and then were analyzed using a data spiral and cross case analysis. The dominant findings indicated that (a) awareness of personal values, culture, and perceptions of the environment were responsible for basic attitudes regarding the environment and consumption; (b) wasteful habits, excessive consumption, and market influences were juxtaposed with nostalgic/episodic memories and deep thoughts about personal consumptive habits; and (c) an interactive multisensory experience in a pristine and wild environment changed perceptions and values regarding ecosystems and ecosystem preservation. The results of this study could help stewards of natural resources develop a new understanding of consumptive behavior and a new consumer ethos of stewardship and environmental leadership, one that inspires healthy and sustainable ecosystems.