I won’t do it – resistance...

There are always reasons to change, and there are reasons not to change. Often they co-occur. Hence we can be overloaded with evidence of the positive effect of a change and still not want to change or feel like changing. Reactance, skepticism and inertia help us explain why that is. These three together can explain our choice for staying the same through very different principle: it might be that the wrong person is asking us to change; or we are still skeptic if the change is actually for the better; or we might not have the energy to change even though we are convinced of the benefits. If you want to change, but can’t get yourself to it, it might be wise to look at possible resistance. If you want to convince someone else, try to avoid the resistance described below. The brain Research has shown that we have a behavioral activation system (BAS) and a behavioral inhibition system (BIS). Both systems know a different activity in the brain. This is linked to two orientations, a promotive and preventive orientation. The promotive orientation has its focus on rewards and benefits. It makes us look for opportunities to maximize the positive effect of change. The preventive orientation is more sensitive to potential dangers. It has a focus on avoiding danger. Depending on the orientation and the outcome of our actions we experience different emotions. Not getting what we want will lead to melancholia and sadness, dealing with costs will make us angry. Avoid angry brains By taking away resistance, we take away the potential harm that can be done by change. Through this kind of convincing people can only be disappointed in the potential of the benefits, but they will...

Forbidden fruits – Sanctions and side-effects...

Playing ‘hard to get’. We all know the idea that it will make us appear more attractive. Did you, as team leader or manager, ever think about the really desirable non available? We prohibit all kinds of behavior;  smoking, drinking, stealing, hitting, bullying… and we all experienced the feeling of curiosity for some forbidden fruit (hopefully some of the first examples). Sanctions are only necessary if people are not allowed to act in a certain way but do want to act in that way. Or the people are used to act in that way, or think it normal to act in that way. Sanctions often promote the action that is prohibited, because of two reasons: ethical fading and reactance. Everybody is doing it?! If there is a big group of others that have to hold themselves to the same code, it becomes less likely that the behavior of one employee has an influence on the total effect. So why act in agreement with the code if it does not matter? If all others fail to act properly the proper behavior of one individual doesn’t help, so in that case it would not matter to break the code either. Either way: the reasons to stick to the code are hard to find. Punishment and the disappearance of ethicality In a study people had to decide if they kept themselves to the cleaning agreement. Tenbrunsel and Messick studied what a sanction system did with the obligation to apply this environment friendly cleaning procedures. There were two scenario’s; they were either told about a sanction for surpassing the agreement,  or they were asked to keep themselves to the agreement because they promised to. Of those who would not be punished for transgressing...

Tempting prohibitions – Scarcity...

Ever wondered why your cellphone appeals so much to you, even though you are having a nice face-to-face conversation with a friend? The unknown and the possibility of missing something you can never get back is pulling so strongly at us it triggers us to check who is calling. Hobfoll found that people are more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something with an equal value. Loss or gain of grade point averages that went up or down the same amount were not valued the same. The loss was seen as much less desirable then the gain was viewed positive (Ketelaar). They trick you with scarcity Whatever is scarce, we like and want more. Telling customers (you!) that the amount of products is low will make you want the products more. They call it the limited-number tactic. They tell you the production stopped, or the import stopped, or they changed the model/product line and you need to be quick to obtain the product before it is too late. Time limits also work great. Knowing that the time to see, visit, buy or get something is running out will make you want it more. The higher price you will have to pay afterwards, or the impossibility of getting the same product: both deadlines will work. Why does it work? The things we like will be liked by others too. This easily makes them scarce. We have an internal rule stating that things that are difficult to get are typically better than those that are easy to get (Lynn). A second, and very powerful, reason is the loss of freedom; whenever we are no longer capable of purchasing what we (might) want we lose...