Multiple Motivations Institutional Change Principle
The multiple motivations principle suggests that a portfolio approach—rather than a single strategy—may be required to achieve change. Research demonstrates that people and institutions adopt new behaviors for many reasons. They likely need more than one reason for changing their current behavior. Therefore, people may shift to more sustainable, energy-efficient behaviors in the workplace because those actions are part of the agency's mission, lower costs, make work life easier or healthier, and are the "right thing to do."
Because individuals have different motivations, a variety of approaches should be used to change behavior. Such approaches can range widely, from financial gain, to social approval, to a desire to do the right thing, to winning a competition, among others. Multiple approaches are necessary for motivating people to change their behavior or to work more diligently on activities they are already practicing, such as recycling, composting, or using mass transit.
To learn more about the multiple motivations principle, see Evidence-Based Background Material Underlying Guidance for Federal Agencies in Implementing Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans Implementing Sustainability: The Institutional-Behavioral Dimension.
The following 2011 strategic sustainability performance plans (SSPPs) demonstrate successful applications of the multiple motivations behavior change principle by Federal agencies.
U.S. Department of Defense: The plan encouraged employee participation in sustainability efforts by assessing opportunities to integrate waste reduction lessons into other training and providing incentives for those who participate in training sessions.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Among its programs were those for employees who use alternative means of commuting, such as public mass transit, carpooling, bicycling, walking, and teleworking. The plan also indicated that programs would be established to appeal to employees through a department-wide awards program for sustainability with incentives for winners.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Its plan included establishing performance management elements and incentives for positive and negative sustainability impacts, cascading from the senior executive level throughout the enterprise.
U.S. Department of Education: As part of efforts to integrate sustainability into daily procedures and facilities, the plan combined social approval, positive reinforcement, and monetary awards.
U.S. Department of Labor: To encourage employees to bike to work, incentives included bike storage and shower facilities for those with a gym membership. The plan identified other incentives to consider, including a bike subsidy program, free and preferential locker room access, and improved bike storage facilities.
U.S. Department of Energy: Its plan underscored the importance of behaviors to achieve energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions, such as carpooling and using public transportation by suggesting monetary and social incentives.