Well, this article makes me go “hmmm….”. Apparently, peer pressure does not end after high school, as if I hadn’t noticed. This article sites multiple studies and experiments that point to peer pressure or at least the “pull of the crowd” as a more powerful driver of behavioral change than financial incentives, or social responsibility to “do the right thing”. How to Nudge Consumers to Be Environmentally Friendly – WSJ.com#printMode.
This surprises me quite a bit, as I personally subscribe to a belief that people need to really have a strong internal (emotional) desire and motivation for change in order to actually make significant changes (and especially to stick with them). In fact, in “The Heart of Change” by John Kotter, his research bears this out. The essence of Kotter’s message is this: the reason so many change initiatives fail is that they rely too much on “data gathering, analysis, report writing, and presentations” instead of a more creative approach aimed at grabbing the “feelings that motivate useful action.” (Citation, Amazon.com Review) So perhaps the peer pressure, the subconscious need that many of us have to “fit in” is enough of an emotional pull to incite some level of change after all. If this is the case, we have much work to do to reverse our consumption-oriented “more and bigger is better” culture! (In my humble opinion, of course!).