Listen, collaborate, co-create: stakeholder-engaging healthcare communications

The Hawthorn Effect

Ever heard of the ‘Hawthorn effect’? It’s an obscure, yet fascinating phenomena first discovered in 1958 following a series of psychological trials conducted at the huge Hawthorne factory complex outside Chicago, and one that can be applied to your healthcare communications when broken down.

Researchers wanted to see the relative changes to productivity amongst workers, when variables such as lighting intensity, breaktimes, and team working were altered and reconfigured.

An unexpected result

This was no double-blind placebo affair, and the trial was criticised by some for its lack of clinical level ‘blind’ protocols; but that flaw is exactly why it had such an interesting and useful outcome. It seemed that workers’ productivity would improve whenever and whatever changes were made, and slumped when each study ended. The simple conclusion suggesting that the productivity gain occurred as a result of the motivational effect on the workers; simply by the very fact that interest was being shown in them, and they were being included in an effort to improve something, that thing improved.

Applying these learnings to your healthcare communications

And this ‘Hawthorn’ principle has an analogous effect and outcome in healthcare communications. Where we replace workers with stakeholders, we see the best outcomes in disease awareness, medical technology adoption and clinical behaviour change comes when listening, collaborating and co-creating with stakeholders. When the means to the desired outcome – the stakeholders – are themselves fully involved and invested, then they are more likely to be motivated to contribute to the desired change.

So many companies just do the talking. A one-way conversation. A short trip down a dead-end road. The best, however, will listen, collaborate and co-create within their micro-environment.  

Three simple steps that can make such a healthy difference to your communications.

Let’s have a conversation about how you can best collaborate with your stakeholders – get in touch today.

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