The path of least resistance: Regulatory resource depletion and the effectiveness of social influence techniques

Loes Janssen, Bob M. Fennis, Ad Th H. Pruyn, Kathleen D. Vohs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments examine the role of regulatory resource depletion in the effectiveness of social influence techniques aimed at inducing consumer compliance. They test the two-step hypothesis that a) responding to the initial request stage of an influence technique requires self-control, thereby depleting one's limited resource of self-regulatory energy, and b) a state of regulatory resource depletion fosters the use of heuristics present in the persuasion context, which increases the odds of compliance with the target request of an influence technique. A first field experiment shows that yielding to initial requests (answering a series of questions) induces resource depletion. Experiment 2 demonstrates that a lower level of self-regulatory resources increases the extent of compliance with a request through the employment of the heuristic principle of authority. Together these results provide support for the prediction that regulatory resource depletion is important in explaining the effectiveness of social influence techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1045
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Business Research
Volume61
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008

Keywords

  • Consumer compliance
  • Foot-in-the-door
  • Persuasion
  • Regulatory resource depletion
  • Social influence

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