PROMOTING YOUNG ADULTS TO PERFORM ENERGY SAVING BEHAVIOR THROUGH MESSAGE FRAMING: A LESSON LEARNED FROM INDONESIA.

Author:Fatmawati, Indah
Position::Report
 
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INTRODUCTION

Young adult's awareness to perform electricity energy saving behavior is still low in Indonesia. A series of preliminary studies had been conducted to confirm these phenomena in Yogyakarta Special Region Province of Indonesia. Results of our preliminary study confirmed that people awareness to perform electricity energy saving behavior is still low. Meanwhile, among electrical consumer segments, young adult is perceived as the segment with least awareness to perform energy saving with highest energy consumption rate. Increasing young adult's compliance to perform electricity energy saving behavior remains an interesting issue to be investigated.

Discussing energy conservation behavior can be performed from many perspective such as macro perspective, micro perspective, and variety approach from knowledge and methodological perspective. Many researches have been conducted in energy saving behavior context (Hori et al., 2013; Bell et al., 2016; Ntanos et al., 2018a: 2018b). In macro perspective, for example, Ntanos et al. (2018b), investigated the relationship between energy consumption from Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and country economic growth (per capita GDP). The study is conducted among 25 European countries. The findings revealed consistent results with the previous research reviewed in this study; there is correlation between the GDP and RES consumption. Higher correlation was found in countries with higher GDP than those with lower GDP.

A micro perspective study with a large sample also conducted in Asia. Hori et al. (2013) investigated factors that influence people to perform energy saving behavior in five major cities in Asia (Dalian, Chongqing, Fukuoka, Bangkok, and Ho Chi Minh). This study found that global warming consciousness, environmental behavior, and social interaction significantly affect energy saving behavior. Social interaction, particularly in rural area was strongly linked to energy saving behavior. This study implies the impact of community-based activities on energy-saving behavior.

The rise of RES usage, become a part of interest in energy-saving behavior study. Social acceptance of RES seems to be important to be investigated. Examining contribution of the use of RES to citizens' quality of life, Ntanos et al. (2018a) found that the benefit of RES is a crucial variable in the forming of respondents' perception about the usage and contribution to life quality. This study conducted in Attica region in Greece, involved 400 residents of urban area.

Almost similar with our preliminary study findings in Indonesia, that young adults (aged 18-24) is the segment with high consumption of energy demand, adolescent (aged 13 to 15 years) also identified as a high consumer of energy according to Bell et al. (2016). Based on this opinion and another reason that adolescent will be adult consumers in the future, Bell et al. (2016) conducted an online intervention based study to investigate the adolescent readiness to energy-saving behavior. A sample of 180 adolescents was recruited to this study, divided into intervention and controlled conditions. Results of this longitudinal study showed that adolescents in intervention condition showed significant increase in self-reported energy-saving behavior during the 6 weeks follow up especially for those who already actively engaged in energy-saving behavior prior to intervention.

Examining message recipient's compliance to energy-saving behavior message is an interesting topic in Indonesia due to-based on our preliminary study findings-low awareness of the community to perform it. According to our in depth interview with the Public Relation Manager of PT PLN Special region of Yogyakarta, many effort had been conducted by the government especially PT PLN, who responsible to provide the electricity in Indonesia. However, our preliminary study found the young adults awareness regarding energy scarcity and awareness to perform energy saving-behavior are still low. Even they claimed that they need more energy supply as they are very active in many energy required activities such as reading, watching television, accessing internet and many more. Our study tried to examine whether a printed public advertisement promoting electricity energy-saving behavior could persuade them to perform energy-saving behavior.

Enhancing message recipient's compliance to perform specific behavior promoted in the message is an important issue in persuasive communication. Many strategies can be performed to increase message recipient's compliance. Increasing message recipient's involvement to the message content using fear appeal of a message (Rogers, 1975) or presenting the messages in form of message framing are some of the alternative methods (Maheswaran & Meyers-Levy, 1990). According to Rothman & Salovey (1997), message framing is presentation of a message in terms that emphasize the negative aspects/losses of do not perform actions that are promoted in the message (negative framed message) or presentation of messages that emphasize the positive aspects/benefits of doing actions promoted in the message (positive framed message). Presenting a message in the form of message framing may increase its persuasion power.

Persuasion is an attitude change that occurs because of a person being exposed by a written or verbal information exposure from other parties (Wood, 2000). The effectiveness of message framing on attitude change and decision-making has been widely tested. However, so far there are no conclusive results obtained about which form of message framing that mostly affects decision making (Cox & Cox, 2001). Some studies found that negative message framing is more persuasive, but some others found the opposite results. Another study even suggested that there is no influence of message framing (Assema et al., 2001). This study examined the issue of differential effects of positive and negative message framing in promoting electricity energy-saving behavior among young adults.

Application of framing theory in energy-saving behavior is interesting to be studied. Highly dependency on nonrenewable energy resources should force people to control their energy consumption in order to ensure energy sustainability for present and future. However, our preliminary study found the contrary phenomena. Public awareness on energy scarcity problem is still low especially among young adults. These findings led the author to consider the possibility of energy scarcity issues in energy saving context.

The differential effects of message framing also influenced by various moderator variables (O'Keefe & Jensen, 2006), such as individual characteristic (Ferguson & Gallagher, 2007). Need for Cognition (NFC) is one of individual characteristic differences interesting to be studied regarding message framing (Zhang & Buda, 1999). NFC showed differences in a individuals' tendency to perform and enjoy cognitive activities (Cacioppo et al., 1984). Research states that NFC can predict individuals' reaction in performing a task or receiving social information. Some research on message framing effects that interacted NFC as a moderator variable were conducted to examine the differential effects of persuasive message framing on decision-making. However, results of these studies have not been conclusive (Simon et al., 2004). So far there is no agreement about which form of message framing that more persuasive for individual with low NFC score (Zhang & Buda, 1999). Shiloh et al. (2002) find that message framing affected subjects with high and low NFC. These inconsistent findings indicate that the role of NFC in message framing effects still need to be studied further.

The important aspect of this study is related with the integration of three persuasion approach theories. Three theories of persuasion are integrated in this study i.e., prospect theory approach (Tversky & Kahneman, 1985), theory of six principles of persuasion, i.e., scarcity (Cialdini & Martin, 2006; Cialdini, 2003), and theory of characteristics of individual differences: Need for Cognition (Cacioppo et al., 1984). According to review of previous studies, testing the integration of those three theories in the context of consumer decision making to perform electricity energy saving behavior is have not been performed yet. Overall, this study aims to examine the effect of message framing in promoting energy-saving behavior by considering the moderating effect of energy scarcity information and NFC as an individual characteristic variable.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Framing Theory, Message Framing and Persuasion

Framing theory starts from Prospect Theory introduced by Tversky & Kahneman (1985). Framing postulate of prospect theory states that the way information is presented, in terms of benefits and losses, may influence the behavior differently. Firstly, people tend to avoid risk when considering gain/benefit, which is presented in positive framed messages. While, they likely to take risk when considering loss/cost which is presented in negative framed messages. Consequently, the preferences toward risk-taking heavily depend on whether the idea is presented in frame of gain or loss contexts. Secondly, this theory argues that people will likely avoid risks that make the losses look much bigger than the benefits earned. In line with prospect theory, presenting two logical statements of an issue, in two different ways may result different decisions. The principle of "Prospect Theory" is widely used in presenting persuasive message in order to enhance message recipient' compliance to a framed message. Framing is used as a paradigm to learn and investigate communication strategy and behavior in a wide range of disciplines.

So far, studies examined the effects of message framing on persuasion showed inconclusive results (Cox & Cox, 2001; O'Keefe & Jensen, 2006; Rothman & Salovey, 1997). Some studies reported the advantages of...

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