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Commitment and Behavior Change: Evidence from the Field

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Author Info

  • Katie Baca-Motes
  • Amber Brown
  • Ayelet Gneezy
  • Elizabeth A. Keenan
  • Leif D. Nelson
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    Abstract

    Influencing behavior change is an ongoing challenge in psychology, economics, and consumer behavior research. Building on previous work on commitment, self-signaling, and the principle of consistency, a large, intensive field experiment (N = 2,416) examined the effect of hotel guests’ commitment to practice environmentally friendly behavior during their stay. Notably, commitment was symbolic—guests were unaware of the experiment and of the fact that their behavior would be monitored, which allowed them to exist in anonymity and behave as they wish. When guests made a brief but specific commitment at check-in, and received a lapel pin to symbolize their commitment, they were over 25% more likely to hang at least one towel for reuse, and this increased the total number of towels hung by over 40%. This research highlights how a small, carefully planned intervention can have a significant impact on behavior. Theoretical and practical implications for motivating desired behavior are discussed.

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    File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/667226
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    File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/667226
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 1070 - 1084

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:doi:10.1086/667226

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    Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/

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