What Gets Measured Gets Done: Can Self-Tracking Technologies Enhance Advice Compliance?

  • Kristina Wittkowski (Creator)
  • Jan F. Klein (Creator)
  • Tomas Falk (Creator)
  • Jeroen J.L. Schepers (Creator)
  • Jaakko Aspara (Creator)
  • Kai N. Bergner (Creator)



Self-tracking technologies (STTs) in the form of smart devices and mobile applications enable consumers to monitor, analyze, and interpret personal performance data on health and physical or financial well-being. As a result of self-tracking, consumers are not only expected to check their personal performance more actively but also to implement service professionals’ advice to improve their well-being more accurately. Despite the growing popularity of STTs, empirical evidence on the extent to which STT use enhances advice compliance remains scant. A field experiment with 538 participants in a health-care setting suggests that STT use does not increase advice compliance per se. Rather, the effectiveness of STTs depends on consumers’ self-efficacy. For consumers low in self-efficacy, STT use can even undermine advice compliance. A lab experiment with 831 participants replicates and generalizes the findings to a nonmedical professional service (i.e., fitness training). As assessments of self-efficacy might be difficult in practice, service providers in health care can use consumers’ body mass index as an easy-to-measure proxy to predict STT effectiveness. Finally, the lab experiment also identifies perceived empowerment and personalization as psychological mechanisms mediating the influence of STT use on advice compliance.
Date made available14 Feb 2020
PublisherSAGE Journals

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