Norms and Behavior: Effects of Social Information on Charitable Giving

Tutkimustuotos: VäitöskirjatyypitTohtorinväitöskirjaArtikkelikokoelma


As a result of social, environmental, and economic crises, demand for public
donations has increased drastically, putting charitable organizations in tough
competition with each other. In these uncertain times, when every penny counts,
researchers and practitioners have identified several antecedents, drivers, and
mechanisms of individual donations. Nevertheless, social norms remain one of the most important influencers of individuals’ attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. Despite their importance, norms as drivers of charitable intentions and behavior have not been thoroughly studied. This dissertation addresses the gaps in the literature and explores the influence of injunctive (what others approve of) and descriptive (what others do) norms on individuals’ charitable intentions and behavior. Across four studies reported in three articles, my coauthors and I address not only whether social norms matter but also how and when.

Surveying 288 respondents, in the first article, we not only identified that
descriptive norms influence donation intentions but also determined two mediators: perceived impact and personal involvement. Although intentions often predict behavior, the relationship between the two does not always exist. The second article examines whether aligned (both injunctive and descriptive norms being either supportive or unsupportive of the action) and unaligned (one of the types being supportive and the other unsupportive) social norms moderate the intention-behavior link. An experiment involving 428 participants demonstrated a positive relationship between intentions and behavior. Surprisingly, both aligned (both types of norms being supportive) and unaligned (unsupportive injunctive and supportive descriptive) social norms moderate the intention-behavior relationship. The third article reports on two experiments involving 347 participants. The findings suggest that (a) both supportive and unsupportive norms affect giving intentions, (b) injunctive norms are more powerful than descriptive ones, and (c) unaligned social norms decrease donation intentions by negatively influencing collective efficacy.

The dissertation contributes to the scientific literature by furthering several
theories, including social norms theory, social expectation theory, focus theory,
collective action theory, theory of planned behavior, and attitude-behavior theory. The findings also have practical implications for content creation and persuasion techniques that charitable organizations can use to increase individual donations.
Painoksen ISBN 978-952-12-4146-8
Sähköinen ISBN978-952-12-4147-5
TilaJulkaistu - 2022
OKM-julkaisutyyppiG5 Tohtorinväitöskirja (artikkeli)


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