Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy
Showing posts with label Social Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Change. Show all posts

Saturday, July 6, 2024

We built this culture (so we can change it): Seven principles for intentional culture change.

Hamedani, M. G., et al. (2024).
American Psychologist, 79(3), 384–402.

Abstract

Calls for culture change abound. Headlines regularly feature calls to change the “broken” or “toxic” cultures of institutions and organizations, and people debate which norms and practices across society are now defunct. As people blame current societal problems on culture, the proposed fix is “culture change.” But what is culture change? How does it work? Can it be effective? This article presents a novel social psychological framework for intentional culture change—actively and deliberately modifying the mutually reinforcing features of a culture. Synthesizing insights from research and application, it proposes an integrated, evidence-based perspective centered around seven core principles for intentional culture change: Principle 1: People are culturally shaped shapers, so they can be culture changers; Principle 2: Identifying, mapping, and evaluating the key levels of culture helps locate where to target change; Principle 3: Culture change happens in both top-down and bottom-up ways and is more effective when the levels are in alignment; Principle 4: Culture change can be easier when it leverages existing core values and harder when it challenges deep-seated defaults and biases; Principle 5: Culture change typically involves power struggles and identity threats; Principle 6: Cultures interact with one another and change can cause backlash, resistance, and clashes; and Principle 7: Timing and readiness matter. While these principles may be broadly used, here they are applied to the issue of social inequality in the United States. Even though culture change feels particularly daunting in this problem area, it can also be empowering—especially when people leverage evidence-based insights and tools to reimagine and rebuild their cultures.

Public Significance Statement

Calls for culture change abound. Headlines regularly feature calls to change the “broken” or “toxic” cultures of the police, the workplace, U.S. politics, and more, and norms and practices across society are hotly debated. The proposed fix is “culture change.” But what is culture change? How does it work? And can it be effective? This article presents an emerging social psychological framework for intentional culture change, with a focus on behavioral change and addressing societal disparities in the United States.

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Here are some thoughts:

People as Changemakers:  The concept of "culturally shaped shapers" can be empowering to everyone in the organization, not just a top-down approach to leadership. It emphasizes that everyone, from executives to frontline employees, has the power to influence the culture.  This empowers individuals and fosters a sense of ownership.

Multi-Level Mapping:  The idea of mapping the different cultural levels (individual, team, organizational, societal) is insightful. By understanding these interconnected layers, leaders can pinpoint areas for focused intervention and ensure their efforts have a cascading effect.

The Power of Alignment:  The emphasis on both top-down and bottom-up approaches is crucial. When leadership aspirations align with employee experiences,  genuine cultural change flourishes. Leaders who actively listen and incorporate employee voices create a sense of trust and shared purpose.

Leveraging Values:  Building upon existing core values is a smart strategy.  Change feels less disruptive when it complements established principles. However, confronting deep-seated biases is also important. Leaders need the courage to address outdated norms that may be hindering progress.

The Inevitability of Conflict:  The acknowledgment of power struggles and identity threats during cultural change is an important reminder.  Leaders should prepare for resistance and be open to navigating these challenges constructively. Transparency and open communication are key.

The Ripple Effect:  The highlight that cultures interact is valuable. Leaders must consider how their organization's culture interacts with external forces,  like industry norms or societal shifts. This awareness can help them anticipate potential challenges and opportunities.

Timing is Everything:  The importance of timing and readiness resonates deeply.  Leaders need to assess their organization's receptiveness to change and tailor their approach accordingly.  Forcing change before the groundwork is laid can backfire.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Belief in Persistent Moral Decline

West, B., & Pizarro, D. A. (2022, June 27).
https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/9swjb

Abstract

Across four studies (3 experimental, total n = 199; 1 archival, n = 186,000) we provide evidence that people hold the belief that the world is growing morally worse, and that this belief is consistent across generational, political, and religious lines. When asked directly about which aspects of society are getting better and which are getting worse, people are more likely to list the moral (compared to non-moral) aspects as getting worse (Studies 1-2). When provided with a list of items that are either moral or non-moral, people are more likely to report that moral (compared to non-moral) items are worsening (Study 3). Finally, when asked the question “What is the most important problem facing America today?” participants in a nationally representative survey (Heffington et al., 2019), disproportionately listed problems that fall within the moral domain (Study 4).

General Discussion

We found consistent and strong evidence that people think of social decline in more moral terms than they do social improvement (see Figure1). Participants in our studies consistently listed more morally relevant items (Studies 1-2) when asked what they thought has gotten worse in society compared to what has gotten better.Participants also categorized items pre-coded for moral relevance as declining more frequently than improving (Study 3). Study 4 provided further evidence for our hypothesis that those things people think are problems in society tend to be morally relevant. The majority of the “most important problem[s]” facing America from1939-2015 were issues relevant to moral values.

These findings provide evidence that in general, people tend to believe that our moral values are getting worse over time. We propose that this moral pessimism may serve a functional purpose. Moral values help bind us together and facilitate social cohesion (Graham et al.,2009), cooperation, and the strengthening of ingroup bonds(Curry,2016; Curry et al.,2019). Concern about declining morality (believing that morally relevant things have gotten worse in society over time) could be viewed as concern for maintaining those values that help keep society intact and functioning healthily. To “rest on our laurels” when it comes to being vigilant for moral decline may be unappealing, and people who try to claim that we are doing great, morally speaking, may be viewed as suspect, or not caring as much about our moral values.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Communication Strategies for Moral Rebels: How to Talk About Change in Order to Inspire Self-Efficacy in Others

Brouwer, C., Bolderdijk, J.-W., Cornelissen, G., 
& Kurz, T. (2022). WIREs Climate Change, e781.
https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.781

Abstract

Current carbon-intensive lifestyles are unsustainable and drastic social changes are required to combat climate change. To achieve such change, moral rebels (i.e., individuals who deviate from current behavioral norms based on ethical considerations) may be crucial catalyzers. However, the current literature holds that moral rebels may do more harm than good. By deviating from what most people do, based on a moral concern, moral rebels pose a threat to the moral self-view of their observers who share but fail to uphold that concern. Those observers may realize that their behavior does not live up to their moral values, and feel morally inadequate as a result. Work on “do-gooder derogation” demonstrates that rebel-induced threat can elicit defensive reactance among observers, resulting in the rejection of moral rebels and their behavioral choices. Such findings suggest that advocates for social change should avoid triggering moral threat by, for example, presenting nonmoral justifications for their choices. We challenge this view by arguing that moral threat may be a necessary ingredient to achieve social change precisely because it triggers ethical dissonance. Thus, instead of avoiding moral justifications, it may be more effective to harness that threat. Ethical dissonance may offer the fuel needed for observers to engage in self-improvement after being exposed to moral rebels, provided that observers feel capable of changing. Whether or not observers feel capable of changing, however, depends on how rebels communicate their moral choices to others—how they talk about change.

From the Conclusion

The theories reviewed point to the crucial importance of people feeling confident about their capabilities to change when they are confronted with their own perceived shortcomings. That is, rebel-induced dissonance must be accompanied by perceived self-efficacy (i.e., the belief that one is capable of change). Thus, rather than avoiding presenting a threat to others' moral self-views by, for example, using morally neutral justifications, we proposed that moral rebels should harness that threat, provided they talk about change using words of encouragement that helps inspire perceived self-efficacy in others.

To that end, we recommended that moral rebels should ensure that observers can preserve their belief in being a good person, despite their moral hiccups, and not discourage them in their capabilities needed for self-improvement. They should make those observers become more aware that their habitual choices incidentally produce harmful outcomes, and avoid suggesting that morally suboptimal actions are the result of having bad intentions, for instance through signaling self-compassion. Second, moral rebels could inspire self-efficacy by focusing on the fact that one's abilities can be developed in the pursuit of self-improvement and are not fixed traits that render one either born to succeed or doomed to fail. Finally, it may be more fruitful to focus on the “baby steps” it takes to reach a higher self-defining goal by promoting maximal moral standards (e.g., praising the incremental changes to observers' behaviors), rather than promoting minimal moral standards (e.g., a requirement for observers to make radical lifestyle changes to gain any moral cache). In sum, these strategies are focused on avoiding observers lapsing into a debilitating state of harsh self-criticism and/or feeling overwhelmed by the required change, but instead making them believe they too have the capabilities required for self-improvement.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Disrupting the System Constructively: Testing the Effectiveness of Nonnormative Nonviolent Collective Action

Shuman, E. (2020, June 21). 
PsyArXiv
https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/rvgup

Abstract

Collective action research tends to focus on motivations of the disadvantaged group, rather than on which tactics are effective at driving the advantaged group to make concessions to the disadvantaged. We focused on the potential of nonnormative nonviolent action as a tactic to generate support for concessions among advantaged group members who are resistant to social change. We propose that this tactic, relative to normative nonviolent and to violent action, is particularly effective because it reflects constructive disruption: a delicate balance between disruption (which can put pressure on the advantaged group to respond), and perceived constructive intentions (which can help ensure that the response to action is a conciliatory one). We test these hypotheses across four contexts (total N = 3650). Studies 1-3 demonstrate that nonnormative nonviolent action (compared to inaction, normative nonviolent action, and violent action) is uniquely effective at increasing support for concessions to the disadvantaged among resistant advantaged group members (compared to advantaged group members more open to social change). Study 3 shows that constructive disruption mediates this effect. Study 4 shows that perceiving a real-world ongoing protest as constructively disruptive predicts support for the disadvantaged, while Study 5 examines these processes longitudinally over 2 months in the context of an ongoing social movement. Taken together, we show that nonnormative nonviolent action can be an effective tactic for generating support for concessions to the disadvantaged among those who are most resistant because it generates constructive disruption.

From the General Discussion

Practical Implications

Based on this research, which collective action tactic should disadvantaged groups choose to advance their status? While a simple reading of these findings might suggest that nonnormative nonviolent action is the “most effective” form of action, a closer reading of these findings and other research (Saguy & Szekeres, 2018; Teixeira et al., 2020; Thomas & Louis, 2014) would suggest that what type of action is most effective depends on the goal. We demonstrate that nonnormative nonviolent action is effective for generating support for concessions to the protest that would advance its policy goals from those who were more resistant. On the other hand, other prior research has found that normative nonviolent action was more effective at turning sympathizers into active supporters (Teixeira et al., 2020; Thomas & Louis, 2014)16. Thus, which action tactic will be most useful to the disadvantaged may depend on the goal: If they are facing resistance from the advantaged blocking the achievement of their goals, nonnormative nonviolent action may be more effective. However, if the disadvantaged are seeking to build a movement that includes members of the advantaged group, then normative nonviolent action will likely be more effective. The question is thus not which tactic is “most effective”, but which tactic is most effective to achieve which goal for what audience.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Disrupting the System Constructively: Testing the Effectiveness of Nonnormative Nonviolent Collective Action

Shuman, E. (2020, June 21).
https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/rvgup

Abstract

Collective action research tends to focus on motivations of the disadvantaged group, rather than on which tactics are effective at driving the advantaged group to make concessions to the disadvantaged. We focused on the potential of nonnormative nonviolent action as a tactic to generate support for concessions among advantaged group members who are resistant to social change. We propose that this tactic, relative to normative nonviolent and to violent action, is particularly effective because it reflects constructive disruption: a delicate balance between disruption (which can put pressure on the advantaged group to respond), and perceived constructive intentions (which can help ensure that the response to action is a conciliatory one). We test these hypotheses across four contexts (total N = 3650). Studies 1-3 demonstrate that nonnormative nonviolent action (compared to inaction, normative nonviolent action, and violent action) is uniquely effective at increasing support for concessions to the disadvantaged among resistant advantaged group members (compared to advantaged group members more open to social change). Study 3 shows that constructive disruption mediates this effect. Study 4 shows that perceiving a real-world ongoing protest as constructively disruptive predicts support for the disadvantaged, while Study 5 examines these processes longitudinally over 2 months in the context of an ongoing social movement. Taken together, we show that nonnormative nonviolent action can be an effective tactic for generating support for concessions to the disadvantaged among those who are most resistant because it generates constructive disruption.

From the General Discussion

Based on this research, which collective action tactic should disadvantaged groups choose to advance their status? While a simple reading of these findings might suggest that nonnormative nonviolent action is the “most effective” form of action, a closer reading of these findings and other research (Saguy & Szekeres, 2018; Teixeira et al., 2020; Thomas & Louis, 2014) would suggest that what type of action is most effective depends on the goal. We demonstrate that nonnormative nonviolent action is effective for generating support for concessions to the protest that would advance its policy goals from those who were more resistant. On the other hand, other prior research has found that normative nonviolent action was more effective at turning sympathizers into active supporters (Teixeira et al., 2020; Thomas & Louis, 2014)16. Thus, which action tactic will be most useful to the disadvantaged may depend on the goal: If they are facing resistance from the advantaged blocking the achievement of their goals, nonnormative nonviolent action may be more effective. However, if the disadvantaged are seeking to build a movement that includes members of the advantaged group, the nonnormative nonviolent action will likely be more effective. The question is thus not which tactic is “most effective”, but which tactic is most effective to achieve which goal for what audience.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Wayfair Walkout Is a Different Kind of Tech Worker Protest

From center, Wayfair co-chairmen and co-founders Steve Conine and Niraj Shah ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 2, 2014.April Glaser
slate.com
Originally posted June 26, 2019

Here is an excerpt:

This time, the Wayfair employees went very public—and they did so during a week of renewed public outrage over the Trump administration’s border policies, thanks to reports of appalling conditions at a facility in Clint, Texas, holding migrant children who had been separated from their families. When Wayfair employees disrupt business on Wednesday by walking out, they’ll highlight that even a company best known for cheap sofas is entangled with a system that has split up families, locked asylum-seekers in cages, and detained children who have been found sick and without access to sufficient food or places to bathe.

This isn’t a typical use of organized labor, but it’s of a piece with the methods used by white-collar workers in the technology industry over the past two years. So far, the movement to force companies to oppose various activities of the Trump administration has had mixed success. Wayfair’s case suggests it will now grow beyond the very largest tech companies—and that employees are realizing signing a petition isn’t their only move.

The Wayfair protesters aren’t fighting to improve their own working conditions: They’re organizing to change their employer’s business practices. Google employees did this in 2018 with a petition that lead to the nonrenewal of a Department of Defense contract to build software systems for drones. Microsoft and Salesforce employees were less successful last year when they sent letters to their respective CEOs demanding they stop contracting with federal immigration agencies. More than 4,200 Amazon employees recently called on the company, unsuccessfully, to reduce its carbon footprint and stop offering cloud services to the oil and gas industry.

The info is here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Is there such a thing as moral progress?

John Danaher
Philosophical Disquisitions
Originally posted March 18, 2019

We often speak as if we believe in moral progress. We talk about recent moral changes, such as the legalisation of gay marriage, as ‘progressive’ moral changes. We express dismay at the ‘regressive’ moral views of racists and bigots. Some people (I’m looking at you Steven Pinker) have written long books that defend the idea that, although there have been setbacks, there has been a general upward trend in our moral attitudes over the course of human history. Martin Luther King once said that the arc of the moral universe is long but bend towards justice.

But does moral progress really exist? And how would we know if it did? Philosophers have puzzled over this question for some time. The problem is this. There is no doubt that there has been moral change over time, and there is no doubt that we often think of our moral views as being more advanced than those of our ancestors, but it is hard to see exactly what justifies this belief. It seems like you would need some absolute moral standard or goal against which you can measure moral change to justify that belief. Do we have such a thing?

In this post, I want offer some of my own, preliminary and underdeveloped, thoughts on the idea of moral progress. I do so by first clarifying the concept of moral progress, and then considering whether and when we can say that it exists. I will suggest that moral progress is real, and we are at least sometimes justified in saying that it has taken place. Nevertheless, there are some serious puzzles and conceptual difficulties with identifying some forms of moral progress.

The info is here.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

How can groups make good decisions? Deliberation & Diversity

Mariano Sigman and Dan Ariely
TED Talk
Originally recorded April 2017

We all know that when we make decisions in groups, they don't always go right -- and sometimes they go very wrong. How can groups make good decisions? With his colleague Dan Ariely, neuroscientist Mariano Sigman has been inquiring into how we interact to reach decisions by performing experiments with live crowds around the world. In this fun, fact-filled explainer, he shares some intriguing results -- as well as some implications for how it might impact our political system. In a time when people seem to be more polarized than ever, Sigman says, better understanding how groups interact and reach conclusions might spark interesting new ways to construct a healthier democracy.