Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)

, Volume 27, Issue 3–6, pp 427–462 | Cite as

Don’t be afraid! Persuasive Practices in the Wild

  • Mateusz Dolata
  • Gerhard Schwabe


Advisory service encounters evolve from providing expertise to joint problem-solving. Additionally, advisees depend on persuasion, which drives them to follow the advisor’s recommendations. However, advisors can be insufficiently equipped to persuade, resulting in advisees who are incapable of action or are unmotivated. Persuasive technology (PT) research proves that technology can motivate and enable people in single-user scenarios but pays limited attention to the natural realm of persuasion: the face-to-face conversation. This paper explores how persuasive technology transforms advice giving, a collaborative scenario involving an expert and a layperson. In such scenarios, IT does not act as a persuader but can provide affordances for persuasive practices, i.e., suggest new practices or enhance existing ones for convincing the advisee without deception or enforcement. We investigate the advisory practices in 24 real burglary prevention service encounters supported by IT. The paper shows the persuasive practices emerging through appropriation of the system, the tensions that govern the adoption or transformation of specific practices and routines and it confirms that studying the use and appropriation of technology uncovers organizational conflicts and tensions affecting such fundamental aspects as the advisor’s role and job description.


Advisory practices Advisory services Appropriation Burglary Crime prevention Motivation and ability Persuasive practices Persuasive technology Practice theory 



We send our best thanks to all police officers, who generously supported this study. Special gratitude to those who agreed to observations, shared their insights and observations with us, spent hours on discussing the issues, or helped us with formal issues. Roger, Hugo, Christoph, Rolf, Markus, Max, Michael P., Thomas, Stefan, Frank, Michael C., Sven, and Reinhard - without your assistance and openness this study would not have been possible. We thank Dr. Tino Comes for his hard work on SmartProtector design and development, as well as for his overall supportive attitude. Finally, our best thanks to the involved police departments for supporting the project financially and mentally.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of InformaticsUniversity of ZurichZürichSwitzerland

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