In the section „Neues aus der Wissenschaft“ (News from the sciences) of the 28th November edition of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag, an article by the title „Zu guten Taten bewegen“ (To motivate for good deeds), an experiment was discussed that shows that people can be most readily brought to do something for the common good, if they have been provided the opportunity to actively and seriously reflect on a specific topic. Neither abrupt compulsion nor noncommittal information result in comparably good results.
This insight is all the more remarkable since in our contemporary society, and especially in the economic realm, it is still prevalent to assume that human beings act only on the basis of self-interest. Whence this assumption leads we can see especially well by example of the current financial crisis: erroneous prognoses, ice cold managerial egoism and market failure.
It is time that we depart from more realistic behavioral assumptions in our economic and social realms: active engagement and cooperative collaboration in the value creation process. This is all the more necessary, as in our contemporary knowledge society it is imperative that a highly specialized, sophisticated and broadly strewn knowledge spectrum must be brought together. Self-interest does not fit into this landscape.
In our newly published book (see Chapter 5) we proposed a number of fundamental principles with regard to this issue and also illustrated how positive human behavioral assumptions can lead to innovative value creation. Internal and external stakeholders are therein not perceived as self-serving egoists, but as people who share their knowledge with a positive motivation for the common good. Indeed: “People for People”.