Nudging is Ineffective When Attitudes Are Unsupportive: An Example from a Natural Field Experiment

Malte Dewies*, Astrid Schop-Etman, Kirsten I.M. Rohde, Semiha Denktaş

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


For security reasons, employees of a Dutch local government department needed to wear an identifying lanyard with their employee badge, but compliance with this policy was low. Two nudges to increase compliance were evaluated in a pre-registered natural field experiment using a pre-post design, and a qualitative survey. Bayesian inference provides insufficient support for the effectiveness of the nudges. While more respondents judged the nudges and the lanyard policy positively than negatively, there was substantial negative judgment and incomprehension for both with some employees finding the nudges paternalistic. We hypothesize that the nudges were ineffective because they failed to change attitudes about the policy, and because they led to reactance among some employees. Implications for nudging within organizations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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