A few weeks ago, I posted a poll trying to get feedback on what kind of barriers people are experiencing with switching to efficient lighting options in their home. At CERTs, we’re trying to build the most helpful information and decision-making tools. Additionally, CBSM prefers a rigorous study of barriers, but I wanted to see what kind of potential a poll like this held for getting feedback about a behavior.
I concede that ‘changing to efficient lighting’ is not a non-divisive action, meaning that the feedback would include barriers to switching to CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), LEDs (light-emitting diodes), choosing lighting, etc. The poll, however, met people where they were in their lighting experience. Some had switched to CFLs and had mixed reviews, others switched to CFLs and back again, some were going straight to LEDs. I sent the poll out via my blog via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I also made special posts to several LinkedIn network groups, ranging from energy professionals to general networking groups
Behavior change is a function of a number of things, including but not limited to, information and understanding, a motivation, resources to act, perceptions of efficacy, social environment, and also…culture, the topic of this post.
I mentioned culture in my post on social norming as something that can affect the strength of social norms in a community. Culture also plays a role on its own on how we perceive, create value, and act. It is more pervasive that social influences. Culture encompasses our history, what we value, and how we create meaning in our lives. It is what we believe and how we express our beliefs (definition).
“Culture is about shared meanings. …Meanings can only be shared through our common access to language. So language is central to meaning and culture and has always been regarded as the key repository of cultural values and meanings.“ – Stuart Hall, cultural theorist
To understand the cultural aspects of energy use, Opinion Dynamics conducted an ethnographic study that involved 136 in-depth interviews in homes across California. The goal was to identify the drivers and barriers to positive energy behavior by looking at language use, behavioral choice, and physical and social environment.