“I Hope I'm Not Disturbing You, Am I?” Another Operationalization of the Foot-in-the-Mouth Paradigm


  • The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their help to improve the quality of this paper.

Sébastien Meineri or Nicolas Guéguen, Laboratoire CRPCC-LESTIC Université de Bretagne-Sud 4, Rue Jean Zay BP 92 116 56 321 Lorient Cedex, France. E-mail: sebastienmeineri@yahoo.fr or nicolas.gueguen@univ-ubs.fr


A study by Howard (1990) proposed a compliance technique built on a social routine. We tested a technique based on an alternative routine. Our hypothesis was that asking people about their availability before making a request would result in increased compliance. A group of 1,791 participants were asked to answer a questionnaire by phone for a consumer survey. The results showed that compliance rates were higher when the requester inquired about respondents' availability and waited for a response than when he pursued his set speech without waiting and inquiring about respondents' availability. The results are discussed based on 2 complementary consistency mechanisms (Aune & Basil, 1994; Tedeschi, Schlenker, & Bonoma, 1971).