Repository logo

Sustainable behaviour at work: how message framing encourages employees to choose electric vehicles

Published version

Published version

Repository DOI

Change log


Freibichler, W 
Kaiser, M 
Sunstein, CR 
Reisch, LA 


This paper explores the application of message framing as a management practice to promote change in employee behaviour for corporate sustainability. We conduct a field experiment in a German automotive company to test the effects of three different frames (emotional, normative and gain) on pro-environmental actions in relation to electric vehicle choices of 170 employees. The frames are applied via two communication channels: first, via emails to remind employees about ordering a new car and second, via pop-up notifications appearing in the online system where employees complete their orders. We find that the interventions applied in emails, but not in pop-up notifications, have significant positive effects on electric vehicle adoption. Yet, the durability of the effects is limited. Overall, gain framing in the form of cost saving information has the longest and most powerful impact on electric car choices. Our findings have implications for workplaces where employees might not yet possess strong pro-environmental beliefs, showing that employee sustainable behaviour can be enhanced by emphasising complementary gain motives.



message framing, nudging, corporate sustainability, employee sustainable behaviour, workplace interventions, electric vehicles

Journal Title

Business Strategy and the Environment

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


ERP Environment