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What is Social Marketing?

Social Marketing is the application of commercial practices using a social science framework. It is particularly used for public information campaigns. The aim is to understand social behaviour and affect positive social change. This is done through targeted research on a particular community and in partnership with stakeholders.

Social scientists work with governments, community groups and businesses who need to communicate with hard to reach or vulnerable groups. Research shows that negative emotions like shame and guilt are ineffective but advertisers continue to use them. It’s better to first approach the group of interest using interviews and surveys to see how they understand the issue and then focus marketing on empowerment. Rather than making people feel bad, we focus on what they do well and then educate them about their options.

A circle projected on the roof of Watergardens. Quote at the top reads: social scientists work with governments, community groups, and businesses who need to communicate with hard to reach or vulnerable groups
Social scientists work with governments, community groups and businesses
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Creating Real Choice for Women at Work

Sociologist Professor Barbara Pocock’s book “The Work/Life Collision” has been influential throughout my career. I taught Professor Pocock’s research for years at Swinburne University while I was still a lecturer/tutor; this book informed my thinking when I worked in social policy research; and I draw on her work still.

Professor Pocock talks about how Governments frame women’s paid and unpaid labour as a “choice,” which is ultimately damaging as it puts the burden of managing domestic labour, caring for self and family, and careers all on individual women.

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Managing Rudeness at Work

Psychologists find that experiencing rudeness at work from customers and colleagues increases absenteeism and decreases sales performance. That doesn’t mean that managers can’t step in and improve things. Psychologist Michael Leiter says:

“A big part of the intervention is just to get people to talk about their relationships rather than just getting ticked off with people and complaining to their friends… That’s part of your professional responsibility: to maintain good working relationships just like you maintain equipment and report breakdowns… You don’t have to wait until people get cynical or quit in disgust; it’s something management can do something about.”
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How to Manage Stress at Work

How can you better address the experience of stress and work? Research shows that stress comes from many sources, but the cumulative effect can lead to chronic illness. Sane Australia reports that one in five Australians will experience some form of mental illness.

Many people manage stress in unhealthy ways because they don’t understand the resources available to them or because they don’t have a good support system in place, including at work. Social science can be used to better understand and improve corporate mental health programs.

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How to Improve Your Focus

Your Social Science Snack for the week is about using social science to become more aware about mental wellbeing.

Psychologist Wendy Hasenkam has conducted research on how to improve mental focus. She argues that “The more focused we are, the more successful we can be at whatever we do.” She shows that the ability to focus is like a muscle that you can train. There are four key ways to achieve this, centred on better breathing methods and a deeper understanding of our thinking patterns. Continue reading “How to Improve Your Focus”

Gender Revolution in Business

Research finds men from high socioeconomic backgrounds are more competitive than women from affluent backgrounds as well as men and women from poor backgrounds. The reason is that rich men are rewarded for this behaviour while women are socially conditioned against competitive behaviour, while poor people get no monetary or social incentives to maintain competition.

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A sunny day. People walk across Circular Quay park. An inflatable tiger is lying down. Tall buildings of Sydney CBD in the far background

Work Life Balance and Public Health

I recently wrote about how social science supports local governments to improve public health, through research and community consultation. Social scientists work to address policy gaps, we use science theories and methods to better target community services, and we ensure that health programs are socially inclusive. Here, I want to address how this public health model is relevant to workplace health. I’ll start by briefly showing why and how public health is important.

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Social Science Quote of the Week: Diversity

This week’s Social Science Quote comes from Sociology Professor Martin Ruef. Ruef has studied why some small businesses succeed while others fail. Looking at historical data, he finds that two variables matter most to business success: social support and diversity. Diversity can include cultural, occupational or socio-economic differences. The crucial point is knowing how to manage and resolve conflict. Get more social science quotes and tips on our Instagram @SocialScienceInsights Continue reading Social Science Quote of the Week: Diversity