We like to think of character as stable. ‘I’d never do X bad thing!’ we tell ourselves, but a parade of findings in psychology and behavioral economics shows that our choices are often a lot more malleable than we’d like to admit. Change the surroundings in which you make a decision and you can usually “nudge” people towards changing their behavior–for good or ill.
That’s useful to know if you’re trying to improve enrollment in your company’s 401k or get more people to become organ donors, but it’s also an important reality for business leaders to keep in mind as they build their company culture, asserts marketer and psychology buff Gregory Ciotti in a recent Medium post.
“In his book Behavioral Ethics in Organizations, Dr. Muel Kaptein gives an astute summation of the scientific literature that evaluates how different surroundings can affect decision making,” Ciotti reports. “His findings show that the leadership of the company, the values employees share, and the interaction among teams, if handled poorly, can all cause otherwise good people to make bad decisions.”
So what sort of barrels spoil even the best apples inside? Here are a few of the dangerous cultural issues that Ciotti flags up. [read]