In this category, you can find articles relating to the behavioural economics of nudging in the workplace. Wikipedia states: “Nudge is a concept in behavioural science, political theory and economics which proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behaviour and decision making of groups or individuals. Nudging contrasts with other ways to achieve compliance, such as education, legislation or enforcement”.
Thaler & Sunstein, in their book Nudge, give the following definition: “Any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives… To count as a mere nudge, the intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid. Nudges are not mandates. Putting the fruit at eye level counts as a nudge. Banning junk food does not.”
According to the book, the nudge theory has three principles that should guide the use of nudges:
- All nudges should be transparent and never misleading
- It should be as easy as possible to opt-out of the nudge
- There should be a good reason to believe that the behaviour being encouraged will improve the welfare of those being nudged
A nudge can help with improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness. Nudges work to increase employee engagement, can aid performance management and give interesting behavioural insights. For example, an employer can nudge employees to eat less by having smaller plates available, remove all but one bin so people must move more to dispose of their waste. A nudge to promote positive employee behaviour is to remove all the printers but one from the area, so people print less and walk more – and may socialise too. Or for positive reinforcement nudge, put fruit at eye level, and biscuits up high!