Two Psychological Theories All Leaders Should Know
Attend to observational learning and social contagion and you'll lead better.
Posted Jul 01, 2013
Social contagion theory suggests that behaviors can spread like a highly contagious virus. Fashion trends are a good example. Research has found that even eating disorders can spread by social contagion in university dorm environments. So, as a leader, one has to be mindful of the spread of behavior within organizations. When some organization members behave in problematic ways (e.g., stealing, tardiness, rudeness) that behavior can spread quickly to others. Yet good behaviors such as hard work, attention to detail, and friendliness, can spread quickly by observational methods too. Thus, behavior that you like needs to be thoughtfully reinforced while behaviors that you dislike need to have immediate corrective feedback to nip in the bud.
So, what do you think?
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Copyright 2013 Thomas G. Plante, PhD, ABPP