Want and buy less

Dr John Stephens responds to Maria Kordowicz's article.

I read Dr Kordowicz’s article ‘You are more than your productivity’ (November issue) twice; always a good sign. The article was challenging and thought provoking and had a title few could disagree with. My only contention is that Dr Kordowicz could have been clearer as to where the actual problem lies.

The problem is not productivity and efficiency. These, if anything are intrinsically positive values. Who would argue with using less of the earth’s resources to make something? Who would argue with helping people spend less time at mundane, dangerous tasks (grinding cereal by hand, digging iron ore with a pick axe, turning soil with a spade rather than a plough).

I would argue that the problem lies with what we sometimes choose or are made to do with the bene ts of productivity. Do we make more and more stuff and persuade people to buy it? Do we ll peoples time with additional unsatisfying tasks?

The solution is simple (I wish!). Use our great understanding of Behaviour Change Psychology to help people want less and buy less, not to create needs where there are none. Use our great understanding of Occupational Psychology to help managers and business leaders understand that efficiency and productivity increase when staff are motivated by balanced and fulfilling jobs. Let’s move from a destructive cycle to a virtuous circle.

- Dr John Stephens, former Manufacturing Manager, current Behaviour Change enthusiast, Macclesfield Cheshire [email protected]

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