2.1. Rainwater Harvesting (RWH)
In contemplation with the maladies like egregious water scarcity, excessive floods and jarring water pollution, rainwater harvesting has become an unparalleled panacea which is imperative for the growing population. Rainwater harvesting is the method of collecting and storing rainwater for various purposes (Boers & Ben-Asher, 1982). Being India a tropical monsoon country its potential to harvest rains is irresistibly possible, despite the growing awareness of need for rainwater harvesting (Kumar et al., 2006), there is low adoption of rainwater harvesting in India. This study assumes the low adoption of RWH is because of the shrouded environmental responsibility and concern. Hence, to comprehensively explore the original reasons for the low adoption of rainwater harvesting this empirical study adopts personal norm from Norm Activation Model, intention to acquire rainwater harvesting knowledge (IARWH), environmental responsibility, environmental concern along with the subjective norms of the Theory of Planned Behaviour.
2.2. Personal norms (PN)
Moral obligations play a significant role on the moral intentions when individuals are confronted with handling situations which conflicts self and public interests (Lam, 1999). Personal norms or moral norms are connoted as the humanistic values, manifests as obligations and compassion that are imbued within oneself and gets transpired when encountered with social tribulations. Accordingly, Schwartz (1977) defined personal norms as the internalized core values that are presumed as moral obligations and plays a key role in decision making. Researchers like Lindenberg & Steg (2007) argued that individuals are steered to elicit pro-environmental behaviors based on the inner motivation as guided by the conscience or morality. Further, Schwartz (1977) affirmed that personal norms do play a poignant role in performing altruistic behaviour. The value system, predicting ability of the repercussions of events and the preparedness to bear the responsibility influence the personal norms of individuals (Stern, 2000). Similarly, other empirical studies also have affirmed the influence of personal norms on pro-environmental behaviours and actions (Stern & Dietz, 1994; Mehmetoglu, 2010).
In the meantime, several researchers have addressed the active engagement of personal norms on the pro-environmental behaviour. Amongst them, Doran & Larsen (2016) asserted that personal norm posits a strong positive relationship to choose eco-friendly travel options. Similarly, personal norms significantly impacted the purchase of pro-environment apparel (Kim & Seock, 2019). The study conducted by Wynveen and Sutton (2015) signified that; individuals embracing personal norms plant trees, and use products that consume less energy to mitigate the adversities of climate change. Similarly, Shanmugavel & Solayan (2021) signified a positive relationship between personal norms and green products purchase intention among the centennials in India. This shows that personal norm is an intrinsic motivation that usher people to adopt rainwater harvesting in their premises. Binding personal norms with intention to acquire RWH knowledge, environmental responsibility, environmental concern and adoption of rainwater harvesting, following hypotheses are proposed:
H1a. Personal norms positively influences the intention to acquire RWH knowledge.
H1b. Personal norms positively influences individuals’ responsibility towards the environment.
H1c. Personal norms positively influences environmental concern possessed by the individuals.
H1d. Personal norms positively influences the adoption of rainwater harvesting.
2.3. Subjective norms (SN)
Subjective norms are the guidance that oneself derives or inherits from others to perform an action (Lam, 1999), therefore prior empirical evidence signifies its significant role on individuals’ behavioral intentions and actions. Fishbein & Ajzen (2011) defined subjective norms as the reference to individuals from known and important persons’ actions and behaviours to perform a task. Earlier Ajzen (1991) construed that the internalized social pressure plays an active role in leveraging behaviours. Even in the day-to-day activities subjective norms do play a significant role.
Several researchers have explained the significant role of subjective norms on pro-environmental behaviours. For example, Marcos et al. (2021) investigated the influence of subjective norms on water conservation and found that it holds a strong binding with the individuals’ intention to conserve water. However, the other study conducted by Kim & Seock (2019) discovered that social norm significantly influenced pro-environmental purchasing behaviour. López-Mosquera et al. (2014) poignantly unveiled the significance of social norms by stating that individuals would intend to spend for environmental conservation. Experimental studies have also proved that subjective norms positively affect individuals to engage in pro-environmental behaviour (e.g. Reese et al., 2014; Mair and Bergin-Seers, 2010). Hence, this study assumes that subjective norms will be a strong predictor to adopt rainwater harvesting in their premises. Tying subjective norms with intention to acquire RWH knowledge, environmental responsibility, environmental concern and adoption of rainwater harvesting, following hypotheses are proposed:
H2a. Subjective norms positively influences the intention to acquire RWH knowledge.
H2b. Subjective norms positively influences individuals’ responsibility towards the environment.
H2c. Subjective norms positively influences environmental concern possessed by the individuals.
H2d. Subjective norms positively influences the adoption of rainwater harvesting.
2.4. Acquisition of rainwater harvesting knowledge (ARWHK)
Knowledge is a supreme power which enables the cognitive skill of individuals (Zagzebski, 2017), similarly motivates the intellectualism that oneself possess (Fantl, 2012). Based on the arguments made by Zagzebski (2017), knowledge is acquirable as the acquisition of knowledge includes knowledge of persons, things and own self. However, knowledge acquisition from external sources is predominant among majority of the people. Therefore, knowledge is an understanding about a subject matter. The acceptance behaviour of individuals is influenced by the attitude towards knowledge adoption (Davis, 1989). In addition, MacRae (1999) has urged the need to design programs to create awareness about the sources that deteriorates the ecological status and to remediate the environment.
Several researchers have stated the linkage between knowledge and attitude (e.g. Bagheri et al., 2019; Shim et al., 2009). Individuals who acquire knowledge through sustainable development education programs necessarily shapes a sustainable future (Hadjichambis et al., 2015). A study conducted by Fielding & Head (2012) affirmed that knowledge predicts more pro-environmental behaviour. However, some of the researchers also have stated that linear relationship does not exist between knowledge and action (e.g. Skamp et al., 2009; Chhokar et al., 2011). Hence, this study presumes that intention to acquire knowledge do play a significant role in the adoption of rainwater harvesting. Further, this study construes that intention to acquire RWH knowledge mediates the relationship between personal norms and subjective norms with the adoption of RWH. In view of the above discussion the following hypotheses are framed:
H3a. Intention to acquire RWHK positively influences the adoption of RWH.
H3b. Intention to acquire RWHK mediates the relationship between personal norms and adoption of RWH.
H3c. Intention to acquire RWHK mediates the relationship between subjective norms and adoption of RWH.
H3d. Intention to acquire RWHK positively influences the environmental responsibility.
H3e. Intention to acquire RWHK positively influences the environmental concern.
2.5. Environmental responsibility (ER)
Environmental responsibility is one of the significant attributes that facilitate to internalize and solve environmental related issues and problems by involving in making pro-environmental decisions and transforming the society to do so. Environmental responsibility is attributed as an inherent behavior of individuals’ environmental interest manifested from their concern towards environmental security and welfare to redress environmental problems through day-to-day activities in maintaining the environment (Wong et al., 2018; Choudri et al., 2017). Inter alia, studies have also shown that environmental responsibility could be influenced through environmental education (Slavoljub et al., 2015). Environmental responsibility could be manifested by keeping the environment clean; consuming less and optimal use of energy; involves in raising hands against environmental evils. In addition, DesJardins (1998) highlighted the importance of environmental responsibility in the corporate level and Furman & Erdur (1999) at the individual level.
Some of the prior researchers have discovered the influence of environmental responsibility towards the pro-environmental behaviour. Amidst, Yue et al. (2020) demonstrated the significant effect of environmental responsibility on green consumption behaviour and environmental concern. Another study conducted by Kaiser and Scheuthle (2003) discovered the influence of environmental responsibility on the eco-friendly behavior. Further, Stern et al. (1999) confirmed the linear relationship between environmental responsibility and pro-environmental behavior, similarly Attaran and Celik (2015) reaffirmed the linear relationship between environmental responsibility and purchase intention of green buildings. In line with the above discussions this study assumes that environmental responsibility demonstrates a significant connection with the adoption of rainwater harvesting. Accordingly, following hypotheses are proposed:
H4a. Environmental responsibility positively influences the adoption of RWH.
H4b. Environmental responsibility positively influences environmental concern.
H4c. Environmental responsibility mediates the relationship between personal norms and adoption of RWH.
H4d. Environmental responsibility mediates the relationship between subjective norms and adoption of RWH.
2.6. Environmental concern (EC)
Environmental concern is categorized as individuals’ attitude (Minton & Rose,1997) that might be developed through the perceived personal threats duly caused by environmental deterioration (Baldassare & Katz, 1992). Hence, this study assumes that greater the environmental concern is a consequence of high level of environmental information acquired. In the meantime, several researchers have construed environmental concern as a strong positive predictor to pro-environmental behavior (e.g. McDonald et al., 2015; Felix et al., 2018). Accordingly, several researchers have studied the impact of environmental concern on pro-environmental behaviour and in accordance with the prior researchers this study assumes the adoption of rainwater harvesting as one of the pro-environmental behaviours.
In general, researchers have also felt that individuals possessing greater degree of environmental concern instantaneously take actions against mugging environmental problems and involves empathetically to protect the environment (McDonald et al., 2015). Similarly, a study conducted by Minton & Rose (1997) proved that environmental concern significantly influences the purchase decision of eco-friendly products. Inter alia, Nagarajan & Chidambaram (In Press) discerned the direct and indirect influence of environmental concern on the purchase intention of electric vehicles. Another study has also elicited the impact of environmental concern on environmentally responsible behaviour (Fransson & Gärling, 1999). In the meantime, Suki (2016) showed the positive direct effect of environmental concern on green consumption intention. Moreover, prior studies have also shown that environmental concern influenced the willingness to pay for eco-friendly products (Xu et al., 2020). In view of the discussions this study proposes the following hypotheses.
H5a. Environmental concern positively influences the adoption of RWH.
H5b. Environmental concern mediates the relationship between personal norms and adoption of RWH.
H5c. Environmental concern mediates the relationship between subjective norms and adoption of RWH.
2.7. Moderating variable: intention to acquire rainwater harvesting knowledge (IARWHK)
Another interesting aspect in the contemporary information era is the influence of information and the intention to acquire knowledge. Hence, among others Hilgert et al. (2003) is of the opinion that individual’s knowledge about a specific subject would influence their attitude toward performing a behavior. Further, the theory of consumer socialization states that individuals gain knowledge through various agencies (Ward, 1974). In the meantime, several studies have also proved the significant effect of environmental knowledge on pro-environmental behaviour (e.g. Vicente-Molina et al., 2013; Onel & Mukherjee, 2016). Further, Masud et al. (2015) argued that knowledge about the adversities of climate change favours actions to mitigate climate change. Similarly, Pérez-Nordtvedt et al. (2008) is of the opinion that comprehensiveness of the subject matter rests with the learning intention. Albeit, the role of intention to acquire knowledge in enabling environmental responsibility and environmental concern with adoption intention of rainwater harvesting builds a gap in in academic literature. Therefore, this study assumes the moderating influence of IARWHK can help the environmentalists, government and academicians to better understand the individuals’ contention and intention to adopt rainwater harvesting to facilitate sustainable groundwater. Hence, in light of the above discussions, this study surmises that environmental responsibility and environmental concern will exert a stronger effect on the adoption intention of rainwater harvesting.
H6a. The impact of environmental responsibility on the adoption intention of rainwater harvesting is positively moderated by the intention to acquire rainwater harvesting knowledge.
H6b. The impact of environmental concern on the adoption intention of rainwater harvesting is positively moderated by the intention to acquire rainwater harvesting knowledge.
2.8. Proposed research model
To predict the individual’s pro-environmental behaviour and behavioural change, several researchers have used and validated the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) (e.g. Ru et al., 2018; Wang et al., 2016; Armitage and Conner, 2001). Though the TPB intends to investigate the behavioural intent, subjective norms play a crucial role as suggested by Aliabadi et al. (2020) in the context of sustainable water management through rainwater harvesting in Iran. Moreover, several researchers including Ajzen (1991) have suggested to add pertinent variables that holistically explain the intended behavior (e.g. Tommasetti et al., 2018; Sánchez et al., 2018). At the same time, several researchers also have claimed the Norm Activation Model (NAM) as one of the best theoretical lenses to study the pro-environmental behavior in the light of its predictive power (e.g., Onwezen et al., 2013; De Groot and Steg, 2009). Though the NAM proposed by Schwart (1973) investigated the altruistic behaviour in a limited spectrum, it has been extended to study pro-environmental behaviours in its extended forms (Stern et al., 1999; Stern, 2000). Inter alia, few researchers have also argued that moral norms could enhance the predictive power of TPB further (e.g. Whitmarsh & O'Neill, 2010; Fielding et al., 2008). Based on the suggestions made by prior researchers the personal norm has been added and inherited from the Norm Activation Model (Kim & Seock, 2019), similarly, the environmental responsibility has also been added as derived from NAM (Yue et al., 2020). In addition, Zhang et al. (2017) affirmed NAM to examine individual’s environmental complaint intention which is ascribed as pro-environmental behaviour. Based on the inputs from the prior study as environmental concern is a pro-environmental behaviour, this study claims environmental concern as one of the variables of NAM. In addition, intention to acquire knowledge about rainwater harvesting is added as this study assumes that intentions are scuttled by personal and subjective norms. Accordingly, the hypothetical has been proposed and shown as Fig. 1.