Encouraging without coercing: Start nudging! Premium

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Do you agree that command & control is simply no longer the way to go? Then how about trying gentle encouragement? In the previous issue of Business Digest, we highlighted the notion of the nudge, which co-authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein present as a means to subtly direct individuals’ decisions toward the collective good without crushing their sense of free choice. Nudges are thus a worthwhile tool for managers.

Nudges influence people’s behavior in a predictable fashion without hindering their freedom of choice. Contrary to manipulation, people are not actually obliged to go along with a nudge, and if they do, their choice serves not only the group’s but also the person’s best interests. When incorporated into change management strategy, the benefits of nudges are quite compelling.

• Nudges are appropriate for companies striving to move away from traditional top-down management and toward collaborative or participative leadership.

• Nudges boost employee engagement and performance, because people generally do their best work when they have make decisions for themselves.

• Nudges are less costly than traditional motivational schemes (bonuses, promotions, motivational seminars, and so on). They are also less psychologically risky than coercive approaches.

In practice, a nudge may influence either of the two components involved in decision making: the automatic system, such as when you open up the office space to foster team spirit; or the reflective system, such as when, instead of ordering people, “Turn your computer off before leaving,” you stress the objective value of the action by telling them, “Companies where people do this save 5% in costs.”

Business leader testimony

In Anglo-Saxon countries, nudges are often used to boost CSR initiatives ranging from green behaviors to specific wellness or professional wellbeing programs. In France, the BVA Institute has created a Nudge Unit to support people and organizations interested in “driving behavioral change to foster policy compliance, reduce fraud, encourage sustainable practices, and create preferences.”

Read our dossier :
Encouraging without coercing: Start nudging!

Based on “Le nudge: entre carotte et bâton, une autre manière de présenter les choses” by Caroline Castets (Le Nouvel Economiste, March 2011); “Les ‘nudges’, force de persuasion” by Patrick Cappelli (Libération, January 2014); “A Practitioner’s Guide To Nudging” by Kim Ly, Nina Mažar, Min Zhao and Dilip Soman (Rotman School of Management, 2013); “Can nudges help NHS employees act sustainably and deliver better care?” by Trewin Restorick (The Guardian, June 2013).
Business Digest N° 244, March 2014

Watch the video :
Design to nudge and change behaviour: Sille Krukow at TEDxCopenhagen

Sille Krukow explains how changing human behavior can make the world a better place to live