Is there a difference between these two phrases?
“I can’t work without fall protection” and
“I don’t work without fall protection”
Research says there is a big difference…and it might affect your EHS culture.
Published in the Journal of Consumer Research, a team of researchers experimented with the words “don’t” and “can’t” in an effort to measure goal accomplishment and empowerment. In one case study, researchers tracked three groups of participants in a 10-day health and wellness program. One group was told to use phrases such as “I don’t miss a workout”, another was to use “I can’t miss a workout” and a control group was not instructed in any way.
The results were incredible.
In the “I don’t” group, 8 out of 10 completed the full 10 days. In the “I can’t” group, 1 out of 10 persisted and 3 out of 10 did so in the control group.
Are people in your organization using “I don’t” or “I can’t”?
Could a shift in phrasing influence EHS compliance, drive down unsafe shortcut taking, and increase the capacity for safe work at your company?
Link to full research paper here.