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Extending the Better Balance Model: How Psychology Could Help to Solve the Problem of Sustainability

This paper extends the Better Balance Model of Sustainability presented in our previous discussion paper, in which we proposed that solutions to issues such as climate change and population growth may emerge if businesses seek to better understand and harness the underlying human motivations responsible for driving sustainable and unsustainable behaviour. By drawing on psychological theory, we propose that sustainable behaviours could be encouraged by redressing three key imbalances: (1) When human drives/motivations are unbalanced – this can lead dysfunctional and unsustainable behaviour; (2) When there is an imbalance between learning from positive and negative outcomes – this can lead to unsustainable behaviour; (3) When there is an imbalance between people’s public and private identities – this can lead to dysfunctional and unsustainable behaviour. Sustainable behaviour is therefore a function of balancing these three key aspects. The paper concludes by presenting a model of sustainability that can be applied as a tool to redress imbalances and encourage balance and, thus, sustainable behaviours.

Published on 17th March 2016
Authors Professor Kevin Money, Professor Carola Hillenbrand
Series Reference JMC-2016-01