Nudge your employees: An empirical investigation of the potential of nudging to support a sustainable organizational culture

University essay from Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: To achieve sustainability, organizations are challenged to fundamentally and rapidly transform their business. Changing the underlying organizational culture is a crucial part of and leverage point for this process. This thesis investigates how nudging can be used to align employee behavior with the organi- zation's espoused sustainability values and thereby facilitate organizational culture change towards sus- tainability. For this purpose, three field experiments are conducted in three organizations that communi- cate sustainability as a core value but observe unsustainable employee behavior (Research Institute, 800 employees, nudge to reduce to-go cup consumption // Sustainability Consultancy, 10 employees, nudge to reduce meat consumption // Fashion Brand, 60 employees, nudge to reduce food waste). The results show a significant effect in to-go cup consumption (-33%) at the Research Institute, while the other two field experiments yielded no useful results due to missing data and inconsistent data collection. The first experiments' findings, however, suggest that nudging can be an effective tool for aligning employee behavior with espoused values in organizations whose core activity is linked to sustainability, whose employees are mainly white-collar workers and environmentally conscious. Based on the findings, nudging can be an effective, low-cost and simple to administer tool for facilitating sustainable behavior change in organizations, but further research is needed to better understand its applicability.

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