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Reducing Students littering behaviour by application of persuasive techniques

Reducing Students littering behaviour by application of persuasive techniques

Samenvatting

Management Summary
Litter is a social and environmental problem with undesirable consequences. Facility managers and cleaning companies of universities of applied sciences, consider indoor litter as a hot topic. Universities should take the litter issue serious. Less litter could contribute to cost reduction, customer and employee satisfaction, positive study results, the image of the organization and it fulfills strategic sustainability objectives .
Current anti-litter approaches of facility managers and cleaning companies mainly have a practical character, aiming at preventing and solving symptoms. Current measurements are using the right means on the right places, result driven cleaning, surveillance and maintaining house rules, communicative measures, day-cleaning, internal and external partnership and (commitment to) a sustainable strategy. Short term measures, tensions between the facility manager and the cleaning company and a lack of commitment do not support anti-litter approaches.
However, the solution lies beyond an approach of preventing and solving symptoms only. When a university seriously aims to reduce litter, the behaviour of an important stakeholder, the student, should be the starting point. The question arose if perhaps recent persuasive tools, such as gamification and nudging, are feasible instruments for behaviour change. Therefore, the main research question is: “How effective are persuasive techniques to reduce littering behaviour of students at a university of applied sciences?” The research questions are:
1 Why is it relevant to reduce indoor littering?
2 Which anti-litter approaches have proved to be effective and which did not?
3. Why do students litter?
4. How can behavioural insights be applied to design persuasive interventions?
5. How can persuasive interventions be applied to influence students into less littering behaviour?
 
Features of the students and habitual behaviour were studied. Based on these findings, persuasive interventions were selected and experiments were designed and conducted at the Hogeschool Utrecht in Amersfoort. The research methods were literature review, group-wise- and individual interviews, observations and experiments.
The research amongst students show that awareness and positive intentions do not automatically lead to non-littering behaviour. Littering is habitual behaviour, it is hard to refrain of. It is reinforced by multiple unconscious behavioural mechanisms. The motivation amongst students to clear up is low and the perceived effort is high. Awareness campaigns are less effective because littering is habitual behaviour. It could best be approached by unconscious norm-activating interventions.
The main research question concerned the effectivity of persuasive techniques to reduce littering behaviour of students. Although the results showed clear directives towards the selection and appliance of persuasive norm-activating interventions, the exact answer to the question remains uncertain. External variables influenced the validity of the experiments and the findings were ambiguous. Therefore, the extent to which persuasive techniques were effective, is hard to prove. Nevertheless, the real-life characteristics of the experiments contributed to the external validity.

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OrganisatieSaxion
OpleidingFacility and Real Estate Management
Datum2015-09-01
TypeMaster
TaalEngels

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