Persuasion, IT and the Environmental Citizen

As the negative environmental impacts of cities continue to grow, citizens must be involved in climate change mitigation initiatives. Cities can use a range of policy instruments, including information and communications technologies (ICT), to foster more responsible consumption patterns.

In this new research, published in Government Information Quarterly, Sarah Cherki El Idrissi and I develop and test a model explaining how individuals’ green identity, goal intentions and the level of integration support influence the persuasiveness of city-sponsored applications with respect to environmentally responsible behaviours performed in the home and community.

Based on a a survey of 203 people, we find that goal intention and integration support significantly influence the persuasion effectiveness for environmentally responsible behaviours at home, like turning off lights and reducing energy use. For environmentally responsible behaviours in the community, such as participating in community clean-up events, green identity, goal intentions, and integration support all have a positive influence on the persuasion effectiveness.

Our research extends the digital government literature by investigating an emerging policy intervention. We provide a novel theoretical explanation of how elements within an ICT-enabled persuasion event come together to affect individuals’ behaviours. The research also provides cities with new insights into how to design an ICT-enabled intervention for encouraging greater environmental citizenship.