Can social influence drive collective behavior change in public policies and organizational culture?
Insights from research at HEC Lausanne-UNIL – Given most individuals’ desire to conform to other people’s behavior, social influence is frequently used as a driver of behavior change in public policies and to adapt organizational culture. However, the research carried out by Prof. Charles Efferson, HEC Lausanne (UNIL) and his co-authors shows that this mechanism may have its limitations.
Whether you are a senior executive, a policymaker in government or decision-maker, changing the behavior of a group of people – either citizens or employees – can be extremely complicated and challenging. Social influence and the spillover effect are hypothesized to be a remarkably effective and inexpensive way of changing behaviors within the population, in areas such as energy conservation, domestic violence, smoking or alcohol consumption.
While, in theory, working with a small section of the population to change behavior then spreads the new behavior to the whole of the population based on a ripple effect, is it really the case in practice?
Are we on the wrong track if we imagine that just because individual people seem willing to conform to a specific behavior, it is possible to assume that a ripple effect will drive behavior change in a larger proportion of the population?
The results of the research carried out by Prof. Efferson and his co-authors will undoubtedly be of interest to public policymakers and managers. Find out more in the article published on the HECimpact blog.
Get to know more about:
- Prof. Charles Efferson: Charles Efferson is Full Professor in the Department of Organizational Behavior at HEC Lausanne (University of Lausanne). He is also an editorial consultant for the journal Evolution and Human Behavior and a member of the editorial board of Evolutionary Human Sciences. His research focuses on the co-evolution of human social cognition and behavior in areas involving conformity, coordination and cooperation.
- Department of Organizational Behavior: The Department of Organizational Behavior carries out advanced research on individual and group behavior and decision-making in businesses. The department aims at developing knowledge to help organizations improve their efficiency and their employees’ well-being.
par HEC Communication