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Using social norm feedback to improve on-time update submission among project reporting teams
Initial registration date
March 02, 2020
June 23, 2020 4:35 AM EDT
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Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
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.
Makki, Fadi. 2020. "Using social norm feedback to improve on-time update submission among project reporting teams." AEA RCT Registry. June 23.
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
Intervention End Date
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 (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
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
Randomization will be done using the STATA software.
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?
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)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
002 – 2020 – B4Development