PhD defence at MSC: Elizabeth Cooper gains her PhD degree


On 11 December, PhD Fellow Elizabeth Cooper successfully defended her PhD dissertation with the title ‘Tourists on the Edge: Understanding and Encouraging Sustainable Tourist Behaviour in Greenland’.


In her PhD project, Elizabeth aimed to gain a deeper understanding of how sustainable tourist behaviour is understood, both from a local destination perspective and from a tourist perspective. She then developed and tested interventions to change tourist behaviour in situ. Elizabeth focused on Greenland as a study context, where both the negative and positive impacts of tourism can be particularly dramatic.

                               The Icefield_photo Michelle Spinei
                               Photo: Michelle Spinei

Through a range of qualitative and quantitative methods, Elizabeth’s thesis revealed some interesting findings that have relevance both for tourism practice and for literature on tourist psychology and behaviour. For example, the thesis revealed that experiencing the same (positive) emotion can have opposite effects on sustainable tourist behaviour, depending on the type of sustainable tourist behaviour. Through a field experiment, Elizabeth also demonstrated that signing a tourist ‘pledge’ can significantly decrease misbehaviour. The thesis is available to read here.


Elizabeth Cooper is moving on to a postdoc position at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, where she will continue her work on understanding sustainable tourist behaviour in remote destinations. Specifically, she will work on understanding the role of tour guides in promoting pro-environmental behaviour among tourists to Antarctica. More information about Elizabeth’s upcoming project is available here. She can be contacted on


The page was last edited by: Department of Management, Society and Communication // 02/13/2024