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Scientific Newsletter #17

The Implications of Psychological Ownership in Companies Exposed to High Volatility

Again this week, I thank you for being here! Let’s talk today about psychological ownership and its implications for companies exposed to high volatility.

If you’re a Formula One driver, during your first few races you’ll see yourself simply as someone driving a high-performance car. As the weeks go by, your efforts and time invested will make you feel like you own the car. Without realizing it, your mind takes over the car, the goals, the strategy, and everything that could affect your future—even if the car isn’t yours and you’re just an employee of the brand.

Without realizing it, your mind takes over the car, the goals, the strategy, and everything that could affect your future

Psychologists refer to this as psychological ownership. It comes about because individuals invest time and effort, contribute creatively, make decisions, and learn from what they do. If you’re a leader, you probably psychologically own the phases of the products, their successes, and their impact. You feel a strong sense of responsibility and expect others to show the same commitment.

Until 2001, not many people had thought that there was a link between psychological ownership and organizational success. From then on, many researchers began to conduct studies in companies. But I’d like to take it a step further and relate the concept of psychological ownership to agile, digital, and exponential companies.

For example, software developers may take ownership of lines of code, modules they’re particularly proud of, a software infrastructure they’ve developed, or a process or tool. This psychological pattern can occur even when the company clearly states that work produced during work hours is company property.

Software developers may take ownership of lines of code, modules they’re particularly proud of, a software infrastructure they’ve developed, or a process or tool

This ownership is a significant benefit to the company. This is because it allows employees to feel proud and advance their careers by creating excellent products:

  • It increases employee commitment to their work.
  • It helps increase motivation.
  • Increases employee self-esteem and satisfaction.
  • It helps create higher-quality products and services.
  • Makes those involved in a project want to continue participating.
  • Increases the desire to participate in the decision-making process.
  • Helps groups set better goals and find better solutions.
  • Improves knowledge sharing.
  • Reduces staff turnover.

We already know that psychological ownership is a key factor for any organization because of its positive effects in the medium and long term. It also contributes to making the results of a change contagious.

In some organizations, many practices often used significantly reduce psychological ownership due to management style and excessive control (command and control), resulting in employees having to ask permission or seek approval to perform their tasks.

In these cases, many avoid participation and don’t strive for continuous process improvement. They simply do their jobs as prescribed and adhere to the 9-to-5 workday.

There are other cases where people fall in love with their creations but the company needs to phase them out.

There are other cases where people fall in love with their creations but the company needs to phase them out. This can be a problem in organizations exposed to constant market disruptions. Here, it is expected for people to create solutions they can be proud of, but are forced to discard them within a few months or weeks.

Remember… individuals place twice as much value on something they already own. How would you feel if you were told to give up everything you’ve worked so hard for?

Here the work Ownership Culture Survey (OCS) has done is of crucial importance. The results of their study on cultures in companies showed that employees consider fairness to be the most important factor in the company, and this increases psychological participation.

Employees consider fairness to be the most important factor in the company, and this increases psychological ownership

Fairness means that everyone is treated fairly, with reasonable rules, without favoring certain people. In the same study, the second most important factor was a sense of community—the connection between peers. The third most important factor was the opportunity for active participation—being able to voice your opinion and be involved in decisions.

Have you ever considered these factors in your company?

If you don’t have these values (fairness, community, and participation) in your organization, it would be a good idea to consider them.

One practice you can use as a leader or change consultant is to conduct specific sessions to make these values visible. You can use games and role-playing to help people discover and develop a plan for detachment with a positive attitude. 

I like the idea of holding celebrations when a new change plan is implemented or in the product launch phase. Here we explicitly praise what’s left behind and congratulate those who were involved.

I hope this introduction to this exciting topic was useful to you!

Call for Papers for the Enterprise Agility World Conference

The call for papers for the Enterprise Agility World Conference will open on May 1. It’s the world’s only conference on science, organizational change, and enterprise agility.

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Last year we expected about 200 attendees and 800 showed up! Stay tuned, because in our next newsletter you’ll find all the information you need to apply for your conference.

The event will take place virtually on November 5 and will bring together neuroscientistsorganizational psychologistsAgile coaches, and many other professionals working on new theories and practices for organizations.

Achieve customer first in the era of Digital Transformation and Enterprise Agility

By Omer Hashmi

Enterprise Agility can be defined as the Customer First and became the center for Digital Transformations in the Covid-19 era! Learn how to achieve it. Living in a constantly changing society – disruption has become the norm. From Agile to Scrum to DevOps to DevSecOps to Enterprise Agility!

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Click here to watch it!

We are constantly trying to measure and provide value using different techniques and frameworks. Enterprise Agility is the news today! In this session, you will learn what is Enterprise Agility, what techniques are available for us to measure it, and how to improve it for the customers. Facilitated by Issame El-kharbili

Ready to Invest in Building a Resilient Organization?

I’m pleased to announce that we’ll continue our Enterprise Agility Foundations Training around the world in April and May. Join the leading institution providing leaders, managers, and consultants with new opportunities to grow their careers. Talk to one of our trainers now and start moving in a new direction.

Irena Pavlovska, Europe, Certified Change Consultant, April 23rd (LAST DAY TO REGISTER!)

Sandip Rananavare, Asia Pacific, Certified EA Leadership (I), April 30th 

Rose Restrepo, Latin America, Certified Change Consultant, May 5th

Greg Pitcher PK Savy, Asia Pacific, Certified Change Consultant, May 26th

From Enterprise Agility University, we hope you found our scientific newsletter useful, and we’ll see you next week.

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