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Behavioural Economics: Employee and Customer Behaviour

Explore the ways you can develop and use different incentives to promote behaviour change in your employees and customers.

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Learn how to motivate positive behaviour change

On this three-week course, you’ll investigate how to promote positive behaviour change in your employees through effective incentives and an awareness of default behaviours.

You’ll also examine customer behaviours and the role commitment plays in their decision-making.

Through an understanding of incentivisation, default behaviours, and commitment, you’ll recognise the role these play in motivating positive behaviour change in both your employees and customers.

Discover how mental accounting affects the response to incentives

To help increase the success of your incentives, you’ll be introduced to the concept of reference points and mental accounting.

You’ll examine defaults – the pre-selected options available if an individual doesn’t make an active choice. You’ll then explore how they exert influence, even if they have significant consequences, and why they work so effectively in anything from pension choices to hospital care.

Understand the use of different incentives

You’ll delve into different types of incentives such as financial and pro-social, assessing how successful they are in affecting behaviour change.

You’ll identify the difference between incentives and commitments and consider how you could use commitment pledges to change behaviour in a professional setting.

Investigate key learnings in behavioural science

By the end of the course, you’ll have a solid understanding of the behavioural economic factors that can influence your employees and customers.

Guided by Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge to start pushing for positive behavioural change in your workplace.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Incentives

    • Welcome

      Welcome to Behavioural Economics: Employee and Customer Behaviour. In this first week on incentives, Paul will introduce you to the tried and tested method of changing behaviour with financial incentives.

    • Sticks and carrots for behaviour change

      In this activity, you will be able to discuss the use of different types of incentives and how well they can affect behaviour change.

    • Quirks of incentives: reference points

      In this activity, you will learn how to think about the role of reference points and mental accounting in conditioning the response to incentives.

    • Quirks of incentives: time and risk preferences

      In this activity, you will understand how to differentiate between incentives which have risk and/or time components and those which don’t, and to think about how to use both.

    • Crowding in and out, extrinsic vs intrinsic motives

      In this activity, you will be able to appreciate the relationship between financial incentives and prosocial motives.

    • Wrap up

      In this activity we will summarise what you have learned about incentives and learn a little about the topic of next week: commitments.

  • Week 2

    Commitments

    • Commitment

      In this activity, you will be able to consider how you could use commitment pledges to change your own behaviour.

    • Commitments in practice

      Here, you will consider how you could use commitment pledges to change behaviour in a professional setting and link commitments with other things you have learned in this course, such as incentives and social influences.

    • Soft and hard commitments

      In this activity, you'll discuss the different types of commitments and think about which is most appropriate in which context.

    • MINDSPACE in Practice

      In this activity, you will use everything you've learned so far from MINDSPACE and will create a behavioural intervention design relating to your workplace or a similar environment.

    • Wrap up

      In this activity we will summarise what you have learned about commitments and look forward to the next week about defaults.

  • Week 3

    Defaults

    • Commitment

      In this activity, you will be able to consider the widespread presence of defaults and the role of inertia in much of your (and others’) decision-making.

    • Defaults and pensions

      In this activity, you will be able to discuss ways to improve default options by using what you have learned in behavioural science, and will have a working knowledge of the widely used pension plans that harness defaults.

    • Why do defaults work?

      In this activity, you will think creatively about what you have learned in behavioural science and how it relates to the success of defaults.

    • Defaults and the ethics of nudging

      In this activity, you will debate and discuss the role of ethics in nudging, with special reference to the case of defaults.

    • Wrap up

      In this activity, you'll reflect on everything you've learned over the past few weeks about the application of behavioural science in the workplace.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss the use of different types of incentives and how well they can effect behaviour change.
  • Examine the role of reference points and mental accounting in conditioning the response to incentives.
  • Differentiate between incentives which have risk and/or time components and those which don’t, and think about how to use both.
  • Explore the relationship between financial incentives and pro-social motives.
  • Consider the widespread presence of defaults and the role of inertia in much of their (and others’) decision-making.
  • Discuss ways to improve default options based on key learnings in behavioural science.
  • Discuss the role of ethics in nudging, with special reference to the case of defaults.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who wants to learn more about human behaviours and needs.

It will be particularly useful if you are a professional managing, building, or developing a team.

If you want to deepen your understanding of this subject, you may be interested in these courses. They feature similar subject matter and share the same overall learning outcomes:

Who will you learn with?

Paul is a Professor of Behavioural Science. His main research interests are human behaviour and happiness. Author of bestselling Happiness by Design and Happy Ever After, host of Duck-Rabbit podcast.

Who developed the course?

FutureLearn

FutureLearn is jointly owned by The Open University and The SEEK Group and has been providing online courses for learners around the world over the last eight years.

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  • Access to ALL eligible short courses
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  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Buy this course

$69

One-off payment

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  • Discuss your learning in comments
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