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Felkey hosts webinars for nonprofits seeking meaningful inclusion

AJ Felkey
June 04, 2024
Meghan O’Toole

Professor of Economics Amanda J. Felkey was recently invited to deliver webinars on fostering belonging and supporting inclusion in organizations for two large nonprofits.

Felkey presented her research to the staff and membership of the American Water Resources Association and the Association for Women in Science. Both organizations sought out Felkey's research on behavior change in an effort to focus on impactful inclusion and belonging efforts.

Felkey’s research is impactful for these organizations because it investigates changing behavior and how to meaningfully integrate inclusion and belonging in the workplace.

Of many approaches to this workplace scenario, changing behavior is the most effective. Felkey wrote, “The harsh reality is that, even if all parties—the programmers and attendees—are well intentioned, most people will forget the majority of the information conveyed,” she said. “No matter how dynamic the speaker or how inspirational the message, information we do not diligently work to retain will mostly be forgotten. The fact that our workdays are inundated with emails, Slack messages, and social media alerts makes it difficult to find available time and effort to follow up and work toward retaining the important inclusion message.”

Felkey’s webinars delve into her research and theories about changing inclusive behavior. She utilizes a variety of tactics, including commitment devices and social accountability, as opposed to introducing new policies or trainings, which people are more likely to forget.

“We know what people need to help them create and sustain behavior change,” Felkey said. “The only way to really create sustainable change is to focus on individual decision making, and that is what economists do. We change the cost-benefit analysis around decisions and ensure that the inclusive choice is the less costly choice for the organization.”