Department of Management

I Nudge Myself: Exploring ´Self-Nudging´ Strategies to Drive Sustainable Consumption Behaviour

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DOI

Failure to translate intentions into actual behaviour is known in many areas of human action. The intention to consume more sustainable is no exception and often fails to be translated into behaviour. Behavioural research emphasized the use of nudges as one of the remedies to ensure that most of the people´s daily choices on what to buy or what to eat end up being in their best interest. The behavioural economics literature usually focusses on interventions supporting automatic and unconscious processes, mostly being the result of cognitive shortcuts produced by System 1 (e.g., by setting better default options or making existing contexts more intuitive and easy to handle). However, this begs the question, what consumers themselves can do to ensure a consumption behaviour that is more in line with their pro-environmental intentions?
This paper explores a possible ´self-nudging´ strategy of consumers signing up for an organic box scheme subscription, whereby they change a large number of small daily choices (what to buy/what to eat) to a larger decision on exclusively getting organic groceries delivered to their doorstep. It does so based on qualitative in-depth interviews with ten customers of such an organic box scheme. The analysis reveals that signing up for the subscription scheme indeed means that low-involvement decisions in regular supermarkets are replaced by a high-involvement decision on subscribing to an organic box scheme, made deliberately and consciously by their System 2 to ensure that their actual consumption behaviour is in line with their, usually pro-environmental, consumption intentions. In the context of the organic box scheme, the self-nudging phenomenon is in fact the active choice of consumers to set their default consumption option to ´organic´ in the long run.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Volume42
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)141-154
Number of pages14
ISSN1470-6423
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

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