Using social norm feedback to improve on-time update submission among project reporting teams

Last registered on April 19, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Using social norm feedback to improve on-time update submission among project reporting teams
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005511
Initial registration date
March 02, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
March 02, 2020, 3:20 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
April 19, 2021, 1:27 AM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
B4Development Foundation

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
Withdrawn
Start date
2020-03-03
End date
2021-01-15
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Reporting and Systems & Adviser Programme Services (Reporting) are in charge of collecting and combining all of the company's projects updates on bi-weekly basis and creating a report which is then shared with the higher management to help facilitate more informed decisions. A total of 53 projects need to put their inputs in the system. The system is updated either by the project managers or project coordinators all of whom are aware of the updates deadline for each of the bi-weekly cycle. To remind them of the deadline, an email is sent usually a week before the update submission deadline and those project managers and project coordinators that have not submitted their updates on time will receive a phone call on the submission deadline day urging them to input their updates in the system. All updates submitted prior to the report issuance date are included in the final report. Having 53 projects that need to submit their updates takes a lot of effort and time from the side of the Reporting team to collect as many updates as possible before the report issuance date. Being aware that their existing process of requesting and collecting the project updates needs improvement, we partnered with the Reporting team to devise a behavioural intervention to increase submitting updates on time and improve the decision-making process by conducting a randomized control trial.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Makki, Fadi. 2021. "Using social norm feedback to improve on-time update submission among project reporting teams." AEA RCT Registry. April 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5511
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
The intervention will target project managers and project coordinators with access to the project progress system and responsibility to submit updates concerning their projects.
To tackle behavioural barriers that prevent project managers and coordinators to submit their updates on time, such as procrastination or forgetfulness, the intervention will consist of designing and implementing a scoring system whereby during each cycle, projects will be given scores according to when they were submitted (before deadline, after deadline but before report issuance, after report issuance or not submitted). Based on their previous submissions, projects’ rating will be constructed and then communicated to projects managers and coordinators assigned to the treatment condition, through email in a form of a social norm message informing them whether their project falls in 50% top or 50% bottom performers. Project managers and coordinators that are assigned to control condition will receive a standard reminder email that is usually sent to all project managers and coordinators.
Intervention Start Date
2020-09-01
Intervention End Date
2020-11-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The goal of this intervention is to test whether introducing a scoring system and sending a social norm feedback email to project managers and coordinators will help them to 1) submit their updates more often and 2) submit the updates on time, as compared to the control group which will not receive such intervention.
Therefore, the intervention focuses on the following outcome variables:
1. On-time submission
This variable will assess the number of projects submitted before or on the updates submission deadline

2. After the deadline submission
This variable will assess the number of projects submitted after the deadline but before the report issuance date.

3. Late or no submission
This variable will assess the number of projects not submitted or submitted after the report issuance date.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Due to high inter-dependency between projects, users will be divided into user groups and randomly allocated in clusters to either control or treatment condition.
Treatment condition: Users will receive social norm feedback email highlighting their project's rank and informing them whether their project falls in 50% top or 50% bottom performers.
Control conditions: Users will receive the standard reminder email usually sent to all users
Experimental Design Details
In total there are 53 projects and 111 unique users that are registered in the system as ones that can post updates on the projects. Due to high inter-dependency between projects, such as shared project managers and coordinators and high level of communication between the projects, randomization on the individual user or individual project level is not possible because it can happen that the same user gets the treatment email for one project and control email for the other.

Since some projects are interconnected, it can happen that a user sitting on Project 1, also sits on Project 2. This makes him connected to all users in Project 1 and Project 2. Additionally, if a user that sits on Project 2 also sits on Project 3, this makes our starting user connected to all the users on Project 3.

To resolve this issue and create an opportunity for randomization, it will be necessary to first map out all connections between the users in order to create groups of users that are interconnected, but that are not connected to any other user outside of a group. Mapping out all the connections and creating user groups will allow us to perform randomization on the user group level and ensure that all users in one group are assigned to either treatment or control condition. Clusters of user groups will be randomly assigned to control and treatment group.

User groups assigned to the control condition will receive the standard email that was usually sent to all users to remind them of the coming update submission deadline, while the user groups assigned to the treatment condition will receive social norm feedback email highlighting projects’ rank among top 50 or bottom 50% in regards to submitting their updates on time.
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done using the STATA software.
Randomization Unit
Clusters of user groups with same or similar number of users in them (half of them assigned to treatment, half to control)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
26 clusters of between 1 to 28 users
Sample size: planned number of observations
53 projects x 4 cycles = 212 observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
11 clusters allocated to the treatment group
15 clusters allocated to the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Integreview IRB
IRB Approval Date
2020-02-26
IRB Approval Number
002 – 2020 – B4Development

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials