April 22, 2012

A Practical Approach for Realizing Desired Behavior in Your Organization

In our progress-focused organizational change training course which was held this week we offered the participants a model which they found useful. It is a model which is an adaptation of the so-called Theory of Planned Behavior by Ajzen (1988, 1991) and a modification of that model by Reeve and Assor (2011) which I, again, changed slightly.


This figure show how the model assumes desired behavior will happen when individuals are autonomously motivated for the desired behavior. There are three requirements for this autonomous intention:
  1. First, it is required that individuals feel they have influence over the behavior, that they can perform and control the behavior. (CAN)
  2. Second, they need to have a positive attitude with respect to the desired behavior. (WANT TO)
  3. Third, it is necessary that the desired behavior is the dominant norm in the organization. The desired behavior needs to be expected and supported and, if necessary, enforced. ('HAVE TO')
These three conditions can be achieved by realizing the four sources shown on the left in the figure (which can be seen as control knobs):
  1. Control knob 1 is about making the require knowledge and skills available for performing the desired behavior. 
  2. Control knob 2 refers to making information available, both about objective, scientific knowledge about the value of the desired behavior and about the subjective knowledge based on personal experiences.
  3. Control knob 3 refers to explicitly communicating the value and importance of the desired behavior, both by top management and middle management but also through systems and procedures. 
  4. Control knob 4 refers to the level of priority that is assigned to the desired behavior (in comparison with other goals and interests) and the (preparedness to) use of hierarchical power to support and enforce the desired behavior in situations of a conflict of interests.
A simple and practical application of this model would be to sit around a table with a management team of an organization where a change is desired and to answer the following questions as specifically as possible:
  1. How can we facilitate the people in our organization to acquire the needed knowledge and skills to perform the desired behavior?
  2. How can we inform people about the value and importance of the desired behavior and help them share with one another the advantages of the desired behavior? 
  3. How can we facilitate and support the desired behavior through conversations and systems? 
  4. How can we show the people in the organization that we are really serious about the importance of the desired behavior? 

1 comment:

  1. Great! Thanks for the article. After reading it I'm spontaniously thinking at it's end the "managment team sitting around the table"... and posit that if those who's behavior is to be changed were at the table each and every box in the chart would be more deeply elicited.

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