Institut for Virksomhedsledelse

John Thøgersen

A Social Norms Intervention Going Wrong: Boomerang Effects from Descriptive Norms Information

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Standard

A Social Norms Intervention Going Wrong: Boomerang Effects from Descriptive Norms Information. / Richter, Isabel ; Thøgersen, John; Klöckner, Christian A. .

I: Sustainability, Bind 10, Nr. 8, 2848, 2018.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Harvard

Richter, I, Thøgersen, J & Klöckner, CA 2018, 'A Social Norms Intervention Going Wrong: Boomerang Effects from Descriptive Norms Information', Sustainability, bind 10, nr. 8, 2848.

APA

Richter, I., Thøgersen, J., & Klöckner, C. A. (2018). A Social Norms Intervention Going Wrong: Boomerang Effects from Descriptive Norms Information. Sustainability, 10(8), [2848].

CBE

MLA

Vancouver

Author

Richter, Isabel ; Thøgersen, John ; Klöckner, Christian A. . / A Social Norms Intervention Going Wrong: Boomerang Effects from Descriptive Norms Information. I: Sustainability. 2018 ; Bind 10, Nr. 8.

Bibtex

@article{b12bdd8229634971ae4a55102adfd173,
title = "A Social Norms Intervention Going Wrong: Boomerang Effects from Descriptive Norms Information",
abstract = "A large body of research supports the idea of social norms communication promoting pro-social and pro-environmental behaviour. This paper investigates social norms communication in the field. Signs prompting consumers about sustainable seafood labels and informing them about other consumers’ sustainable choices were displayed in supermarkets in Norway and Germany. Seafood sales (sustainably labelled versus unlabelled products) were observed before, during, and after the implementation of the signs. The expected change towards more sustainable choices was generally not found. In Norway, the choice of sustainable seafood increased in the prompt-only condition, but the effect was neutralised when social norms information was added. In Germany, social norm messages lead to a decline in sustainable choices compared to baseline, a boomerang effect. Overall, an increase in the purchase of seafood (both sustainably labelled and unlabelled) was noted during the intervention. A second study was carried out to further explore the finding that consumers were mainly primed with “seafood” as a food group. In a laboratory setting, participants were confronted with stereotypical food pictures, combined with short sentences encouraging different consumption patterns. Subsequently, they were asked to choose food products in a virtual shop. Confirming the findings of Study 1, participants chose more of the groceries belonging to the food group they were primed with. These studies suggest that social norms interventions—recently often perceived as “the Holy Grail” for behaviour change—are not as universally applicable as suggested in the literature. According to this study, even descriptive norm messages can produce boomerang effects.",
author = "Isabel Richter and John Th{\o}gersen and Kl{\"o}ckner, {Christian A.}",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
volume = "10",
journal = "Sustainability",
issn = "2071-1050",
publisher = "MDPI AG",
number = "8",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - A Social Norms Intervention Going Wrong: Boomerang Effects from Descriptive Norms Information

AU - Richter, Isabel

AU - Thøgersen, John

AU - Klöckner, Christian A.

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - A large body of research supports the idea of social norms communication promoting pro-social and pro-environmental behaviour. This paper investigates social norms communication in the field. Signs prompting consumers about sustainable seafood labels and informing them about other consumers’ sustainable choices were displayed in supermarkets in Norway and Germany. Seafood sales (sustainably labelled versus unlabelled products) were observed before, during, and after the implementation of the signs. The expected change towards more sustainable choices was generally not found. In Norway, the choice of sustainable seafood increased in the prompt-only condition, but the effect was neutralised when social norms information was added. In Germany, social norm messages lead to a decline in sustainable choices compared to baseline, a boomerang effect. Overall, an increase in the purchase of seafood (both sustainably labelled and unlabelled) was noted during the intervention. A second study was carried out to further explore the finding that consumers were mainly primed with “seafood” as a food group. In a laboratory setting, participants were confronted with stereotypical food pictures, combined with short sentences encouraging different consumption patterns. Subsequently, they were asked to choose food products in a virtual shop. Confirming the findings of Study 1, participants chose more of the groceries belonging to the food group they were primed with. These studies suggest that social norms interventions—recently often perceived as “the Holy Grail” for behaviour change—are not as universally applicable as suggested in the literature. According to this study, even descriptive norm messages can produce boomerang effects.

AB - A large body of research supports the idea of social norms communication promoting pro-social and pro-environmental behaviour. This paper investigates social norms communication in the field. Signs prompting consumers about sustainable seafood labels and informing them about other consumers’ sustainable choices were displayed in supermarkets in Norway and Germany. Seafood sales (sustainably labelled versus unlabelled products) were observed before, during, and after the implementation of the signs. The expected change towards more sustainable choices was generally not found. In Norway, the choice of sustainable seafood increased in the prompt-only condition, but the effect was neutralised when social norms information was added. In Germany, social norm messages lead to a decline in sustainable choices compared to baseline, a boomerang effect. Overall, an increase in the purchase of seafood (both sustainably labelled and unlabelled) was noted during the intervention. A second study was carried out to further explore the finding that consumers were mainly primed with “seafood” as a food group. In a laboratory setting, participants were confronted with stereotypical food pictures, combined with short sentences encouraging different consumption patterns. Subsequently, they were asked to choose food products in a virtual shop. Confirming the findings of Study 1, participants chose more of the groceries belonging to the food group they were primed with. These studies suggest that social norms interventions—recently often perceived as “the Holy Grail” for behaviour change—are not as universally applicable as suggested in the literature. According to this study, even descriptive norm messages can produce boomerang effects.

M3 - Journal article

VL - 10

JO - Sustainability

JF - Sustainability

SN - 2071-1050

IS - 8

M1 - 2848

ER -