Social factors are influencing Consumers to Choose Environmentally Friendly Offerings2017-02-01
Psychological factors are equally and sometimes more important than monetary incentives for people when it comes to changing their behavior.
– Yet, decision makers, marketing people and people in general seem to believe that economic motives are the most important, says Per Kristensson, Professor of Psychology at CTF, Service Research Center at Karlstad University.
By examining people’s willingness to buy environment friendly products, Per Kristensson and his co-authors identified four factors that cause people to change their behavior. What “everyone else” does is an important reason for changing behavior. Another reason is if the behavior is visible to others around you. Yet another factor is whether the behavior applies to the image one has of oneself.
– Saving for retirement is usually not visible to anyone but yourself, but if you bring an environmentally friendly labeled banana to work, or drive an eco-labeled car, then everyone else can see it, says Per Kristensson.
Price is least important
The participants of the study thought that economic factors such as price would be the most important factor for them to change their behavior, but it turned out to be incorrect. The biggest driving force were the social factors who are justified by what norms and beliefs on what is considered correct in certain contexts. In this case, buying environment friendly products. The price was the least important although it is also contributing to the change significantly.
– The ideas and behavior that have become the norm in society affect us without us even thinking about it. Different kinds of social factors govern us more than we think, and in our study more than the economic factor.
Organizations need to change their view
The research is relevant to all organizations who want to change people’s behavior, whether it is companies, organizations, state or county.
– If the state, for example, want people to use the car less, it is more important to influence the social norms rather than tax rates. Many organizations need to change their perception from that economic factors control behavior to that psychological factors actually are equally or more important.