Encouraging Password Manager Adoption by Meeting Adopter Self-Determination Needs

AbstractPassword managers are a potential solution to the password conundrum, but adoption is paltry. We investigated the impact of a recommender application that harnessed the tenets of self-determination theory to encourage adoption of password managers. This theory argues that meeting a person's autonomy, relatedness and competence needs will make them more likely to act. To test the power of meeting these needs, we conducted a factorial experiment, in the wild. We satisfied each of the three self determination factors, and all individual combinations thereof, and observed short-term adoption of password managers. The Android recommender application was used by 470 participants, who were randomly assigned to one of the experimental or control conditions. Our analysis revealed that when all self-determination factors were satisfied, adoption was highest, while meeting only the autonomy or relatedness needs individually significantly improved the likelihood of adoption.

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