ReciprocityOpen Access

Reciprocity

We’re hardwired to return kindness received

Considered the most powerful global social rule, our initial actions can be highly persuasive in affecting others’ judgements and decisions thereafter.

Jacob, C., Guéguen, N., & Boulbry, G. (2015). Effect of an unexpected small favor on compliance with a survey request. Journal of Business Research, 68, 56–59.

The study

Setup

407 pedestrians in Brittany, France were approached by a young woman and asked to complete a survey. Before the request, half were offered candy and the other half were not.

Results

The results found that people - especially women - were far more likely to reciprocate and answer the survey after receiving a gift than when not.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Act first.

Find ways to initiate reciprocity with consumers.  Merely asking those satisfied to go tell their friends will work (Söderlund et al., 2015).

Takeaway image

Make it a ‘common habit’.

When we’re told that a behavior is a social norm shared by others, we’re more likely to reciprocate. Households in USA and India consume significantly less electricity when told that their neighbors are consuming less (Sudarshan, 2014). In the long-term, any consistent, successful behaviors will be adopted as the default for others.

Takeaway image

Do it in person.

Reciprocation appears to be more powerful when requests from strangers are made face to face rather than online. This is due to the persuasive impact of immediacy that physicality affords, the higher levels of digital suspicion and the sheer number of emails people receive (Meier, 2016).

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
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Reciprocity

Reciprocity

We’re hardwired to return kindness received

Considered the most powerful global social rule, our initial actions can be highly persuasive in affecting others’ judgements and decisions thereafter.

The study

Setup

407 pedestrians in Brittany, France were approached by a young woman and asked to complete a survey. Before the request, half were offered candy and the other half were not.

Results

The results found that people - especially women - were far more likely to reciprocate and answer the survey after receiving a gift than when not.

study graph
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