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Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 196; doi:10.3390/su9020196

Can Social Comparison Feedback Affect Indicators of Eco-Friendly Travel Choices? Insights from Two Online Experiments

1
Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, 5015 Bergen, Norway
2
Department of Social and Cultural Sciences and Social Work, Hochschule Darmstadt—University of Applied Sciences, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany
3
Norwegian School of Hotel Management, University of Stavanger, 4036 Stavanger, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gerrit Antonides
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [240 KB, uploaded 13 February 2017]

Abstract

Two online experiments explored the effects of social comparison feedback on indicators of eco-friendly travel choices. It was tested whether the chosen indicators are sensitive to the information conveyed, and if this varies as a function of in-group identification. Study 1 (N = 134) focused on unfavourable feedback (i.e., being told that one has a larger ecological footprint than the average member of a reference group). People who received unfavourable feedback reported stronger intentions to choose eco-friendly travel options than those who received nondiscrepant feedback, when in-group identification was high (not moderate or low). Perceived self- and collective efficacy were not associated with the feedback. Study 2 (N = 323) extended the focus on favourable feedback (i.e., being told that one has a smaller ecological footprint than the average member of a reference group). Neither unfavourable nor favourable feedback was associated with behavioural intentions, self- or collective efficacy. This means that Study 2 failed to replicate the finding of Study 1 that behavioural intentions were associated with unfavourable feedback, given that in-group identification is high. The findings are discussed in light of the existing literature. Suggestions are made for future studies investigating social comparison feedback as a means to motivate people to make eco-friendly travel choices. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable tourism; travel choices; ecological footprint; feedback strategies; social comparison sustainable tourism; travel choices; ecological footprint; feedback strategies; social comparison
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Doran, R.; Hanss, D.; Øgaard, T. Can Social Comparison Feedback Affect Indicators of Eco-Friendly Travel Choices? Insights from Two Online Experiments. Sustainability 2017, 9, 196.

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