Talk to me nicely: A Research on the Unconscious Influences on Employees within an Organization

Thomas Christensen & Tais Lyager Rasmussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The ability to control and regulate the behavior of employees is a key concept within organizations. New findings within Neuroscience have discovered that individuals and therefore employees are influenced by unconscious factors. If the employee is affected by unconscious factors does this distort the organization’s ability to control and regulate their employees? In this thesis we examine how these unconscious factors affect the ability to control and regulate employees. This is done by researching the question: “How can priming be used to unconsciously influence the productivity of individuals within the organization?” We research how priming can be applied to facilitate a behavioral change by conducting two studies. The first study establishes the validity of priming by priming a positive/negative mood in participants. This was done through the use of a Scrambled Sentence Test and the priming effect was measured using a Mood Adjectives Test. The second study further elaborates on the findings from study 1 by examining the relationship between a positive mood and productivity within Nykredit’s customer service department. This was done by priming employees through a Scrambled Sentence Test and observing the rise in referrals made by employees. The results revealed that priming can influence the mood of employees and that this change in mood affects the productivity of these employees. Furthermore, this thesis presents a number of implementation proposals on how priming can be used within the organization. This is done through 3 different proposals: explicit priming, immersive priming and self-priming. Explicit priming focuses on new practices, immersive on old practices and self-priming on the employees priming themselves. Each implementation method differs in how priming is utilized within the organization. In addition, this thesis tries to fill a gap between management and neuroscience by inserting priming into the paradigm of management. This is done to support the implementation proposals and help determine how priming adds value to the organization. The conclusion of this thesis is that behavior can be controlled and regulated. That the unconscious factors that influence employees can be used through priming to change the behavior of employees. The use of these unconscious factors through priming can be implemented within an organization, and they do have the potential to raise the productivity of employees and thus add value to the organization.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages119