Digital Nudging

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Key findings of the study

  • Potential: The study suggests that communication professionals see digital nudging as an interesting and promising method to increase the effectiveness of communication activities. Learning about digital nudging could be useful even if the method can’t be applied by communication professionals directly.
  • Application possibilities: Most interviewees hadn’t yet implemented digital nudging themselves. But the interviewees identified the following applications as particularly promising:
    • Supporting digital transformation
    • Encouraging learning and development as well as knowledge sharing
    • Increasing compliance behavior, especially regarding cybersecurity
    • Improving employees’ health and well-being

  • Challenges:  The applicability of digital nudging depends on whether the organization uses digital platforms that allow for customization, if there is leeway regarding corporate design, and whether ethical concerns can be sufficiently addressed.



The methodology of the research project involved two main parts:

1.) Literature Review of publications primarily from the fields of behavioral economics, information systems, and human computer interaction were reviewed. The review focused on the theoretical foundations of digital nudging, models for developing digital nudging, and empirical evaluations of digital nudging applications.

2.) Semi-structured interviews with 13 professionals in corporate communications and adjacent areas (e.g., marketing, human resources) from 11 different companies were conducted via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Here are some companies, which participated in the interviews, e.g.: 

Research background

How can we make digital communication more effective?
This was a question in mind identifying digital nudging as a key trends of the Communications Trend Radar 2021, a research project conducted by the Academic Society for Management & Communication. The study describes five key trends from society, management and technology that will influence corporate communications in the near future.


Research team

The research was conducted by: 

  • Stefan Stieglitz is Professor and head of the research group for Digital Communication and Transformation at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Sünje Clausen, M.Sc., is a research associate at the chair for Digital Communication and Transformation at the University of Duisburg-Essen.