Research abstract for Tilburg University, Social and Behavioural Sciences
  • publication: 10 January 2018

Research abstract for publication on the website of Tilburg University, Social and Behavioural Sciences

The implementation of sustainability is a topic which will have a substantial impact on an organisation.

From other research it is known that there will be probably resistance and scepticism among the employees towards desired changes because employees have different ideas and thoughts (mental models) about those changes. The consequence will be that the employees’ behaviour will not be in line with the expectations of the management due to those differences in mental models.

However, the question could be raised whether the employees’ mental models are correct and by that their behaviour? It is possible that the employees’ mental models are incorrect because of incorrect assumptions or they are based on previous experiences which are not appropriate in the current situation.

Concluding, it is important for the management to know the employees’ mental models and their alignment with the mental models of the company about, in this case, sustainability. Together with this, it would be desirable for a manager to work with the mental models of an employee and those of the organisation so that the mental models of both will get in line. As a result, it should positively influence the sustainability results of the company?

This project researches the effect of management attention to employees’ mental models about sustainability in the hotel branch and is a cooperation between Tilburg University and NHL Stenden Research Group Sustainability in Hospitality and  Tourism. The hypothesis is that if a manager tries to get the employees’ mental models in the open and discusses them with the employee, more congruence between the mental models will be developed and with that the success of the desired change towards sustainability will increase.

The research object for this project is a hotel chain of 15 hotels with approximately 1300 employees in the Netherlands.

Chris Beuker

January 8th, 2018