This summary is presented by the IPR Behavioral Insights Research Center
- Nudges are well suited for supporting organizational innovation and agility due to their flexibility, adaptability, and low cost.
Implication for Public Relations
Public relations professionals should examine organizational goals to look for opportunities where nudges can contribute to an organization’s ability to react successful to change. These opportunities are often situations where conventional communications strategies are too costly, ineffective, or slow to intact change.
Organizations can use insights from behavioural science research, particularly nudges, to improve their agility. Being able to adapt to change effectively is critical for success and public relations professionals should recognize opportunities where nudges can be implemented alongside more convention communication strategies or in place of them. Nudges are often faster to deploy and evaluate because they attempt to directly change behaviours through the way choices are intuitively processed. They can also be withdrawn or revised quickly as needed.
Organizational agility refers to the ability for an organization to react to change and thrive. Given advancements in technology, competitive industries, and changing economies, agility is an important characteristic that companies should aim to improve. Nudges are a technique that can contribute to an organization’s agility because they highly adaptable for different contexts and directly motivate behaviour in a generally low-cost way.
Whereas conventional communications influence behaviour by changing attitudes using persuasive information, nudges streamline the process by targeting behaviours through changes to how choices are structured or communicated. Cognitive biases are common during the decision-making process because people regularly rely on mental shortcuts that preserve energy. Nudges leverage these tendencies to help guide intuitive decision-making.
This review highlights how nudges fit well within agile organizations. Nudges can be designed, implemented, and evaluated more quickly because they don’t require major changes in people’s attitudes to be effective. Critically, people remain free to choose, making them more flexible in the face of change. Nudges can be adapted more quickly than traditional management or communication strategies. The application of nudges supports decision making for both internal and external stakeholders and reduces the financial and time costs associated with the slow adoption of behaviours in the face of constantly changing demands.
Internally, nudges can help organizations achieve goals like reducing their environmental impact and costs without using more time- or cost-intensive conventional communication strategies. Simple changes, like setting the default room temperature one degree lower or printers to print double sided, reduce the likelihood and impact of resistance, inattention, or inaction from employees. External communications with consumers or other stakeholders can also benefit from nudge interventions. For example, communicating social norms, like a large percentage of hotel guests reusing towels, can encourage that behaviour and reduce water usage.
Dianoux, C., Heitz-Spahn, S., Siadou-Martin, B., Thevenot, G., & Yildiz, H. (2019). Nudge: A relevant communication tool adapted for agile innovation. Journal of Innovation Economics Management, (1), 7-27. https://doi.org/10.3917/jie.028.0007