From value perception to behavioural intention: Study of Chinese smallholders’ pro-environmental agricultural practices

Hui Cao, Fan Li*, Kai Zhao, Chen Qian, Tao Xiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Internal motivation is a crucial factor determining an individual's behaviour, particularly relevant to smallholders' adoption of pro-environmental agricultural practices. However, there has been limited evidence about smallholders' behavioural intention formation, specifically focusing on pro-environmental agricultural practices. Using large-scale, in-depth interview data from a sample of 549 rural farmers in Shandong province in China, we developed an integrated socio-psychological model, which integrated the value-belief-norm (VBN) theory and the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) into a coherent framework and further tested by using the structural equation modelling (SEM) approach. The results show that the TPB and the VBN models can be well-integrated to examine smallholder's pro-environmental behaviours. The integrated model indicates that smallholders' value perception of environment plays a fundamental role in forming their behavioural intention. Smallholders' subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control (as the core elements in the TPB theory), and their ascribed responsibility (as a core element in the VBN theory) play a significant mediation role in shaping their behavioural intention. This result indicates that to foster smallholders' internal motivation in adopting pro-environmental practices, it is crucial to understand the value perception among farmers, and policymakers should particularly take measures to foster farmers' egoistic values, altruistic values and their biospheric values towards the environment. Only if these proper values are formed, a strong behavioural intention can be formed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115179
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • Internal mechanism
  • Rural China
  • Structural equation modelling
  • Theory of planned behaviour
  • Value-belief-norm theory


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