Conceptual and empirical differences in how choice architecture can influence choice and decision making
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- Master of Science 
Research shows that people may not always make decisions rationally but may rely on intuitive judgement and associative memories (Morewedge & Kahneman, 2010, p. 435). From this perspective, biases and heuristics can emerge, and decision quality may be dampened (Kahneman & Klein, 2009, p. 515). However, recent research (Besedes, Deck, Sarangi, & Shor, 2014; Leonard, 2008; Sproull & Kiesler, 1986) has shown that choice architecture, altering the context in which choices are made, may improve individual and organizational decision-making. In this thesis, we conduct two studies, investigate whether choice architecture (specifically presentation order and indirect messages) may influence peoples’ decisions in certain organizational settings, and discuss possible important implications of the findings for organizations. In the first study, we find that choice architecture in the form of presentation order and indirect messages can unconsciously increase the healthy food choices. In the second study, we find that indirect message such as emoticon can partially increase the participants’ intention to engage in Organizational Citizenship Behavior targeting Individual (OCB-I). We argue that such relatively simple, low cost and no intrusive choice architecture has many potentials for the organizational application. We, nevertheless, acknowledge that there are several weaknesses with our approaches within the two studies. In particular, the setting of the first study does not allow us to document demographic information of participants, which may weaken our choice of control variables (for example, education level of participants and personal BMI). In the second study, participants are required to understand certain terms, which they may in fact not, potentially biasing their answering. However, we argue that our findings may lend some strength to theories and previous research, suggesting that choice context may be able to influence decisions in fundamental ways through effects of priming, salience, and social norm influence, which are described in literature. Furthermore, our findings may strengthen the case that relatively simple, low cost and nonintrusive choice architecture approaches have interesting potentials for organizational applications The main contribution of this paper is, therefore, to provide empirical support for the trend of using choice architecture to influence decisions and eventually to benefit individuals' well-being and as well as organizations'. Further research may include the interacting effect of other potential influencing factors such as pricing (free vs. charge cafeteria), personality (level of altruism), or cultural contexts (individualism or collectivism etc.) on the relationship between choice architecture and decisions.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Psychology - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2016