When organizations transcend themselves

By Cédric Borel | Publication: August 4, 2020 at 16:46

How does an organization integrate the “low carbon transition” value?

The energy and environmental transitions, like any other change, confront individuals and organizations to the difficulty of adopting new practices. Despite an increasingly restrictive environmental regulatory framework, the adoption of new codes in large organizations is a long process, often fraught with pitfalls, especially for its promoters. However, for this transition to happen, we must go beyond the technical and regulatory aspects to reach adherence, or even desire, in order to move forward quickly!

Over the 6 years of our “Market Transformation” experience, the SOCIOCUBE project carried out with ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) has been revealing : how does an organization succeed (or not?) in entering a new culture of sobriety? Where is the injunction of management no longer enough? Where can isolated promoters of ideas be ignored?

Working alongside organizations competing in the CUBE 2020 energy savings competition, we quantified and analysed the interactions between individuals within a group to understand how a leading group can overcome obstacles or the “zero-sum” game that prevented progress.

We found that the so-called “behavioral reservoir” can only be mobilized with an overall modification of the social norm in place, which is often the real brake on change.

SOCIOCUBE has endeavored to describe this change. CUBE2020, this fun and rewarding inter-company energy saving competition is based on the empowerment of individuals as a factor in behavior change. Through a study conducted by sociologist Gaëtan Brisepierre and psycho-sociologist Delphine Labbouz-Henry, SOCIOCUBE aims at evaluating and understanding the socio-organizational mechanisms at work during an energy saving competition. Results have shown that an understood and shared change in human behavior is possible.

The main findings of this qualitative and quantitative study (access the executive summary here) enabled us to qualify the extent to which there is a “behavioral potential” lever for more efficient building management.

In most participating organizations, CUBE 2020 has been seen as a “rite of passage” to accelerate a transition that was already underway but whose adoption was often hampered by the lack of empowerment and communication between individuals. A new mode of operation in the form of a competition reorganizes the internal “social system” by giving more space and prestige to players in energy management and sustainable development. Easy to set up, the CUBE program enables companies to advance their sustainable development policy. Committed employees also obtain a new “green” social and hierarchical recognition. Above all, the competition highlights the complexity and factors interdependence acting on energy savings (technical, regulatory, human). The necessary technical optimizations are boosted by good communication, leading to an awareness of individuals and their desire to make ever greater savings.

Cédric BOREL

Following this fundamental study, we looked closer at the “transferrers”. These people who wish to align the values of their work organizations with their own, by transferring good practices from home to work.

Find more about “the transferrers” here.