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Owning the Process Leads to Productivity

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Many retail stores warn customers that “if you break it, you buy it.” But it turns out there’s an even better reason to keep products out in the open—handling something makes you feel like you own it.

Although the scientific evidence might not be all that surprising, a published report explains this phenomenon:

“In four studies, we find that merely touching an object increases the feelings of ownership a person has for the object. This, in turn, results in a person being willing to pay more for most objects that they touch versus objects that they cannot touch,” the authors write. “We also find that when touch is unavailable, such as shopping online, having people imagine owning a product increases their perception of ownership and how much they are willing to pay for a product.”

If people have a positive or neutral response to touching an object, they are willing to pay more for it, the authors explain. However, if an object does not feel particularly pleasant to the touch, it decreases the amount consumers are willing to pay. “For most products, the touch experience is positive or neutral so merely touching a product usually increases how much a person is willing to pay for an object,” the authors write.

The research may help explain the link between touch and impulse purchasing, the authors explain. “Encouraging touch in a retail store, as Apple does for products like the iPhone, may increase the feelings of perceived ownership and influence the amount a customer is willing to pay for a product.” Likewise, offers of “free trials” for a certain time before the consumer is obligated to pay are likely to increase perceived ownership and product valuation.

Retail businesses love any method for converting shoppers into buyers, but what does this research have to do with workflow, methodology, and productivity? It reminds us of the impact of perception of ownership on perceived value.

If we hold a product in our hands, or even imagine what it’s like to own that product, we start to feel like it is ours to keep. Likewise, if a business process is not just something we do (or we’re told to do), but something we have found, held close, designed and redesigned—it becomes something we own.

improving worker productivity

© Flickr user thetaxhaven

But if workflow is simply borrowed, it may not be respected nor analyzed. It is only when stakeholders take on actual responsibility and authority for the process of work that they become far more engaged at the office. And the reasoning behind allowing employees to mold their own process isn’t just so they feel engaged. It is more than likely that when you bring together the best ideas of everyone involved, the process that is formed will not only be one everyone feels ownership of, but it will be one that is more effective than anything an individual could’ve thought up on his or her own. In a situation like that, everything is coming together for everyone’s betterment. It almost seems silly to not take steps to ensure that your organization is headed in that direction.

Just like shoppers visualizing that new product in their own home, employees should internalize a new or current process as part of their own work and their own career. If you need help engaging stakeholders in ownership of their own workflow, reach out to the business consultants at AccelaWork. We help disconnected employees to find new meaning, passion, and success at work. We can get you moving toward an organization where everyone becomes much more productive by owning their own process.

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