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Article

Motivating Sustainable Change in Tourism Behavior: The First- and Third-Person Effects of Hard and Soft Messages

Norwegian School of Hotel Management, University of Stavanger, 4036 Stavanger, Norway
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Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010235
Received: 28 November 2019 / Revised: 19 December 2019 / Accepted: 24 December 2019 / Published: 27 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
Educating and changing consumers´ attitudes towards sustainable and more environmentally friendly holiday choices is often seen as a key challenge for the tourism industry. The primary objective of this study is, therefore, to increase our understanding of psychological mechanisms underlying consumers’ responses to communication that aims to alter their holiday behavior in a more sustainable direction. Drawing on reactance theory, as well as first- and third-person perception effects, we present an experimental study designed to test how different levels of message assertiveness (i.e., hard versus soft pressure) affect consumers’ intentions to change their traveling behavior. The results suggest that when respondents are presented with a socially desirable message, their individual intentions to change one’s holiday plans are affected to a greater extent compared to their perception of how others would react to such cuing. Furthermore, this first-person effect is most prominent under lower levels of message assertiveness, and when conveyed messages address socially desirable behavior in line with one’s current values. Hard pressure messages loaded with highly assertive prompts, on the other hand, are likely to evoke motivational reactance, especially when a consumer holds a weaker attitude towards sustainability and environmental issues. Practical and theoretical implications of the provided findings as well as avenues for future research are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable tourism; first-person effect; third-person effect; reactance; communication; sustainability; attitude strength; predicted behavior; behavior change; communication assertiveness sustainable tourism; first-person effect; third-person effect; reactance; communication; sustainability; attitude strength; predicted behavior; behavior change; communication assertiveness
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MDPI and ACS Style

Skeiseid, H.; Derdowski, L.A.; Grahn, Å.H.; Hansen, H. Motivating Sustainable Change in Tourism Behavior: The First- and Third-Person Effects of Hard and Soft Messages. Sustainability 2020, 12, 235. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010235

AMA Style

Skeiseid H, Derdowski LA, Grahn ÅH, Hansen H. Motivating Sustainable Change in Tourism Behavior: The First- and Third-Person Effects of Hard and Soft Messages. Sustainability. 2020; 12(1):235. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010235

Chicago/Turabian Style

Skeiseid, Heidi, Lukasz A. Derdowski, Åsa H. Grahn, and Håvard Hansen. 2020. "Motivating Sustainable Change in Tourism Behavior: The First- and Third-Person Effects of Hard and Soft Messages" Sustainability 12, no. 1: 235. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010235

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