Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 549718
Title Pull the plug : How private commitment strategies can strengthen personal norms and promote energy-saving in the Netherlands
Author(s) Werff, Ellen van der; Taufik, Danny; Venhoeven, Leonie
Source Energy Research & Social Science 54 (2019). - ISSN 2214-6296 - p. 26 - 33.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2019.03.002
Department(s) Consumer and Chain
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) Energy saving behaviour - Personal norms - Private commitment strategy
Abstract

We tested the influence of a private commitment strategy, in which people pledge to change their behaviour, on energy saving behaviour. We found that the private commitment only influenced energy saving behaviour when the behaviour was perceived to be relatively effortful. When people found it easy to engage in the behaviour, the private commitment did not promote energy saving behaviour. Importantly, we tested the underlying mechanism why private commitments may influence energy saving in households. Our results show that when behaviours are perceived to be relatively effortful, the private commitment strengthened people's personal norm to engage in the behaviour. That is, after making a private commitment they felt more morally obliged to engage in the behaviour they committed to. In turn, a stronger personal norm was positively related to energy saving behaviour. People's injunctive norms and environmental self-identity did not explain why making a private commitment changed energy saving behaviour when this behaviour is perceived to be relatively effortful. Our findings contribute to the literature by providing more insight into why and under which circumstances private commitments may influence behaviour. Our results suggest that only when people find the behaviour somewhat effortful a private commitment may increase their personal norm to engage in the behaviour, thereby making it more likely that they actually do so.

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