Using social values ​​for profit makes them cheaper, new research warns

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Companies can align with important values ​​such as clean environment, feminism, and racial justice, which they believe benefit from each other. Values ​​are boosted with the company’s bottom line.

But beware, warn of new research from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Using these values ​​primarily for selfish purposes, such as profit or reputation, can ultimately undermine their special status and undermine people’s commitment to them.

“It sets different standards for the proper use of value,” said Loran Nordgren, a professor of management and organization, and an assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resources at Lotman School, who co-authored the study. Research author Rachel Ruttan says. At the Kellogg School of Management. “These are what we are supposed to pursue for our own purposes, which is changing the way people may think about it.”

In multiple studies with hundreds of participants, Dr. Ruttan not only lost respect for those values ​​after those exposed to the more selfish use of “sacred” values. We have found that they are less willing to donate to the causes that support them.

Social media posts hoping for “Happy Earth Day” from stock car racing organization NASCAR have since people’s subsequent environmental protection events compared to similar posts from groups specializing in ecosystem protection. Reduced the respect of. Another study found that participants familiar with the 2015 “paid patriotism” scandal received money from the U.S. military for the National Football League to present the flag on match day and honor military personnel. Those who were unaware of the incident, but showed less concern about patriotic exhibits.

Participants in yet another study were less likely to donate to environmental issues after reading about a fictitious report in which many organizations launched environmental protection campaigns to pursue profits.

Values ​​that are clearly threatened usually cause moral anger in people, such as when money aimed at promoting workplace diversity is reassigned to cover other costs. I will. However, that impulse does not turn on if the value appears to be at least superficially supported. Even if it is actually being used for a very different purpose. Its less pure use is a way of subtly normalizing and eventually corrupting the status of values, says Professor Ruttan.

Still, she says, it is possible for an organization to associate itself with social values ​​and not reduce them. However, organizations must show a “legitimate commitment” to their value. She points to an example of an environmental branded clothing company that discourages customers from buying replacement jackets and offers to repair what they wear instead.

“It’s a true commitment to sustainability and they are actively costing,” says Professor Ruttan.

Consumers, on the other hand, need to be reluctant to automatically get clues about how to think critically about the campaigns they are looking at and what value these campaigns may be driving.

“Grassroots behavior remains important, and supporting our own commitment to these causes is still very valuable in the face of all this information,” says Professor Ruttan.

The treatise will be published soon Journal of Personality and Social Psychology..

Do you want a cheerleader or critic? Voice shows how we actually choose a mentor.

For more information:
Rachel L. Ruttan et al, the use of instrumental music erodes sacred values. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2021). DOI: 10.1037 / pspi0000343

Courtesy of the University of Toronto

Quote: Using social values ​​for profit makes them cheaper, new research warning (2021, May 3) Obtained May 3, 2021 from -cheapens-cautions.html

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Using social values ​​for profit makes them cheaper, new research warns

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