We are currently experiencing a period of significant behavioral changes characterized by the increasing individual pursuit of meaning and purpose, a greater awareness of the collective effects of work and consumption, and a growing focus on the ethical and social attributes of companies. Human behavior is at the core of this phenomenon.
To align the well-being of people with the sustainability of companies, it is necessary to understand the factors that genuinely influence our behaviors. We need to know how we form judgments, make decisions, and, most importantly, how we can create organizational policies for behavioral change that are ethical, evidence-based, and scientifically informed.
There are beautiful organisational speeches filled with declarations about purpose, well-being, ethics, sustainability, and other issues. Often, the well-being of employees and consumers is highlighted as a relevant element.
I have reason to believe that there are specific individuals within organisations who genuinely have a strong intention to build and implement policies that improve people's lives and the sustainability of the business.
However, my experience shows that organisational resistances are significant, systematic, and predictable. These resistances hinder and, in many cases, prevent critical transformation processes essential for the business's sustainability. Many of these barriers consist of behaviors, beliefs, decisions not based on evidence, and a lack of critical thinking.
A classic example is the area of internal communication. This is not an area to be understood as an "information center" but rather as an area with the ability to strongly influence behaviors within the organisation.
For example, depending on how we communicate it, we can make a critical digital transformation process, which will make life easier for all employees, be perceived as a heavy burden to bear. Behavioral Sciences provide us with important tools to understand the best and most ethical ways to communicate, motivate, encourage, and stimulate employees toward behaviors that are positive for them and the organization.
Changing behaviors is one of the most difficult and important tasks in an organisation. First, it is necessary to understand the ethical criteria and legitimacy for this task. Second, it is necessary to understand how we actually make decisions and form judgments. Properly disposing of organic waste, providing motivating feedback, creating contexts of psychological safety, reducing biases in personnel selection, creating more effective compliance systems that do not rely solely on punishment and control, paying bills and debts promptly, reducing food waste, increasing vegetable consumption, using sustainable transportation, saving, voting, getting vaccinated, following the prescribed medical treatment are examples of critical behaviors for organizations, society, people's quality of life, and the success of companies and public policies.
The Open Executive Programme Behavioral Sciences for Organisations aims to transfer conceptual and applied knowledge from Behavioral Sciences for its practical use in organisations.
Article by Carlos Mauro, Programme Director Behavioral Sciences for Organisation.