A Room with a Viewpoint: Using Social Norms to Motivate Environmental Conservation in Hotels

Goldstein, N., Cialdini, R., & Griskevicius, V. (2008). A room with a viewpoint: Using social norms to motivate environmental conservation in hotels. Journal of Consumer Research, 35(3), 472-482. doi:10.1086/586910.

Two field experiments examined the effectiveness of signs requesting hotel guests' participation in an environmental conservation program. Appeals employing descriptive norms (e.g., "the majority of guests reuse their towels") proved superior to a traditional appeal widely used by hotels that focused solely on environmental protection. Moreover, normative appeals were most effective when describing group behavior that occurred in the setting that most closely matched individuals' immediate situational circumstances (e.g., "the majority of guests in this room reuse their towels"), which we refer to as provincial norms. Theoretical and practical implications for managing proenvironmental efforts are discussed.

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