The Nature of the First Small Request as a Decisive Factor in the Effectiveness of the Foot-in-the-Door Technique


  • The research and manuscript preparation were supported by grant number N N 106 327339 from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. My warm thanks are extended to Sabine Sonnentag, the Action Editor of the journal, and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on the earlier version of this paper.

Dariusz Dolinski, Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Wroclaw Faculty, ul. Grunwaldzka 98, 50-357 Wroclaw, Poland. Email:


In the literature on the foot-in-the-door technique it is usually assumed that the first of the two sequentially posed requests should not be extremely easy (trivial). An uncomplicated request would not activate self-perception mechanisms which, as it is commonly understood, lie behind the effectiveness of the technique. This article proposes that when the initial request is exceptional or odd, then even if it is easy and is fulfilled by nearly everyone it will still enhance people's inclination to fulfill the subsequent, much more complicated request. This assumption was verified in three experiments.