FEATURE14 June 2018

Stilted synergy

x Sponsored content on Research Live and in Impact magazine is editorially independent.
Find out more about advertising and sponsorship.

Behavioural economics Features Finance Impact

When banks are in crisis, customers have been known to panic, leading to bank runs. Recent research explores whether such self-fulfilling prophecy could also erode the cooperativeness of employees during times of economic downturn. By Katie McQuater

GeorgePeters YB

The prosperity of modern economies relies on cooperation. Businesses need employees to work together and collaborate. Ultimately, people need to be able to rely on others to keep the cogs of the economy turning.

The impact of the 2008 financial crisis was felt by businesses across Europe – but could adverse economic conditions also affect the psychology of individuals when it comes to their propensity to work together within those organisations?

Research by Nina Sirola, a postdoctoral fellow at INSEAD in Singapore, has sought to answer that question and explore how organisational behaviour can be shaped by economic influences. With a focus on trying to understand the direct impact of the macro context on individual employees, Sirola conducted two field studies and two experiments, to determine whether the perception of economic downturn undermines individuals’ willingness to cooperate.

Sirola’s doctoral research coincided with the recession in Europe in 2008-09, which had a huge impact on her home country of Croatia. “As ...