Social Norms -or- Hey, What are they doing over there?

I’m working on a change management presentation, and have been looking for some of the social norms research – especially at the practice of using messages that help people understand that the majority of the group is already doing the desired behavior.

Before I close the tabs, I thought I’d collect the most interesting links here (that’s all I have time for today!).


Wikipedia entry (which defines it, and rightly points out that outcomes are uneven for this approach) –

Environmental behaviors and social norms (This is a nice summary paper of using social norms in environmental campaigns, influencing behaviors like littering) –

Thermostats with social feedback (This is one of the actual papers on this pretty widely known example) –

Social norms and teen smoking (And feet. An interesting television commercial aimed at social norms and teen smoking) –

Social norms and tax compliance (using a general appeal vs a social norm appeal to improve tax compliance) –

More social norms and tax compliance (HBR article, though you need registration/subscription to see the whole thing) –

Social norms and binge drinking (a write up of one of the earlier studies that looked at perceived and actual norms for college students’ drinking behaviors) –