Information

Is actively trying to create insight inducing conditions effective in generating insights?

Is actively trying to create insight inducing conditions effective in generating insights?

Kounios and Beeman (2009) show that many insight solutions come when one is in a relaxed state. Furthermore, positive mood helps with insight solutions.

  • But practically speaking, is it wise to try and induce conditions that support insight solutions?
  • Would trying to induce conditions that support insight solutions be counterproductive because of some type of meta-cognitive process in the background?

I assume that most people who have eureka moments do not explicitly seek out to have them.

References

  • Kounios, J., & Beeman, M. (2009). The Aha! Moment The Cognitive Neuroscience of Insight. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18(4), 210-216.

This is all a fairly abstract discussion when it's independent of a particular task.

Insights are by definition those discoveries that you couldn't immediately make. Thus, they are often on the horizon of your understanding. So if you knew more to begin with, the solution may have been obvious. And ultimately solving the problem is typically the goal whether that requires and insight or not.

In general, I would assume that when people are under strong time pressure they may fall back on automated ways of doing a task. Thus, I imagine if you are trying to encourage creativity, to encourage an environment where such alternative ideas can be explored and tried. This may well relate to the issue of relaxation. If people are tense and concerned about their performance being judged immediately, they may be less able to cognitively explore the domain.

More generally, a key part of achieving insight is "incubation". Ultimately, this involves spending time on a problem, then having a break, and returning to a task.

So in summary, If you want to increase insight/creativity, I think it makes sense to do things like spending time on the task, taking breaks, creating a non-judgemental performance environment, getting input from external sources, and so on.


Combating Aversive Racism

Prejudice-reduction techniques have traditionally been concerned with changing conscious attitudes (overt racism) and obvious expressions of bias, and have commonly utilized educational programs and campaigns aimed at combating such views and behaviors ( Stephan & Stephan, 2001 ). However, because of its pervasiveness, subtlety, and complexity, conventional interventions and legal practices for eliminating racial bias are often ineffective for combating aversive racism. Aversive racists already recognize prejudice as harmful, but they do not recognize that they are prejudiced. Other techniques are thus required.

Redirecting in-group bias. One basic argument we have made in our analysis of contemporary social biases is that the negative feelings that typically develop toward other groups are often rooted in basic socio-cognitive processes. One such process is the categorization of people into in-groups and out-groups. Because categorization is a basic process fundamental to intergroup bias, this process has been targeted in efforts to combat the negative effects of aversive racism.

The Common Ingroup Identity Model ( Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000 ) is one such intervention approach that harnesses social categorization as a means to reduce intergroup bias and has received strong empirical support in interventions with both child and adult populations ( Gaertner et al., 2008 ). Specifically, if members of different groups are induced to think of themselves as a single superordinate in-group rather than as two separate groups, attitudes toward former out-group members will become more positive by reaping the benefits of in-group status. Enhancing the salience of a common ingroup identity has been shown to inhibit the activation of both implicit ( Van Bavel & Cunningham, 2009 and explicit ( Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000 ) biases. Thus, by changing the basis of categorization from race to an alternative, inclusive dimension, one can alter who ‘we’ is and who ‘they’ are, undermining a potent contributing force to contemporary racism. The formation of a common identity, however, need not require groups to forsake their subgroup identities. It is possible for members to conceive of themselves as holding a ‘dual identity’ in which other identities and a superordinate identity are salient simultaneously ( Crisp, Stone, & Hall, 2006 Gaertner, Mann, Murrell & Dovidio, 1989 ).

Acknowledging and addressing unconscious bias. As described earlier, aversive racism is characterized by conscious (explicit) egalitarian attitudes and negative unconscious (implicit) attitudes and beliefs. Simply because implicit attitudes can be unconscious and automatically activated, however, does not mean that they are inevitable or immutable to change. To the extent that implicit attitudes and stereotypes are learned through socialization ( Karpinski & Hilton, 2001 but see Fazio & Olson, 2003 ), they can also be unlearned or inhibited by well-learned countervailing influences. For example, extended practice in associating counter-stereotypic characteristics with racial and ethnic minority groups has been shown to inhibit the automatic activation of cultural stereotypes ( Kawakami, Dovidio, Moll, Hermsen, & Russin, 2000 ). Implicit motivations to control prejudice can similarly inhibit the activation of spontaneous racial biases even when cognitive resources are depleted ( Park, Glaser, & Knowles, 2008 ).

The problem, in practice, is that Whites are typically motivated to avoid seeing themselves as racially biased and often adopt a colorblind strategy when engaging in interracial interactions, particularly when they anticipate racial tension. However, efforts to be colorblind can sometimes produce ‘rebound effects,’ causing biases to become activated even more. Indeed, Uhlmann and Cohen (2005 ) found that participants who were more confident in the objectivity of their judgments were also more likely to discriminate against equally qualified female candidates for a stereotypically male job (chief of police), inflating criteria that favored male over female candidates. Ironically, the act of affirming a non-prejudiced self-image can further increase the likelihood that even ostensibly non-prejudiced individuals will discriminate. Monin and Miller (2001 ) found that, when given the opportunity to disagree with a prejudicial statement (and, thus, affirm a non-prejudiced self-image), individuals were more likely to discriminate against women or a racial minority group when making a subsequent hiring decision. The authors reasoned that the opportunity to reinforce one's egalitarian image (even when done privately) gave participants a ‘license’ to act in a discriminatory manner (see also Effron, 2009 ).

Whites’ attempts to be colorblind can also alienate minority group members, who generally seek acknowledgement of their racial identity, and further contribute to interracial distrust. Consistent with this reasoning, Apfelbaum, Sommers, and Norton (2008 ) found that although avoidance of race was seen as a favorable strategy by Whites for promoting more positive interracial interactions, in practice, failure to acknowledge race actually predicted decrements in Whites’ nonverbal friendliness and resulted in greater perceptions of racial prejudice by Black interaction partners. Clearly, Whites’ intuitions about processes that enhance or attenuate racial bias may not always be supported empirically.

Despite these challenges, it may nevertheless be possible to capitalize on aversive racists’ good intentions and induce self-motivated efforts to reduce the impact of unconscious biases by making them aware of these biases. Work by Monteith and Voils (1998 ) indicates that when low-prejudiced people recognize discrepancies between their behavior (i.e., what they would do) and their personal standards (i.e., what they should do) toward minorities, they feel guilt and compunction, which subsequently produces motivations to respond without prejudice in the future. With practice, these individuals learn to reduce prejudicial responses and respond in ways that are consistent with their non-prejudiced personal standards. When extended over time, this process of self-regulation can produce sustained changes in even automatic negative responses. Dovidio, Kawakami, and Gaertner (2000 ) found that greater discrepancies between what one would do and should do produced higher levels of guilt among Whites in an initial experimental session, and this relationship occurred primarily for low-prejudiced participants. These findings indicate the potential recruitment of self-regulatory processes for low- but not high-prejudiced participants. When participants returned three weeks later, there was generally greater alignment (i.e., smaller discrepancy) between what one would and should do – an indication that both high- and low-prejudiced participants showed a decrease in overt expressions of bias. However, low- and high-prejudiced Whites differed in terms of the extent to which they internalized these changes. Low-prejudiced Whites who had larger initial discrepancies showed greater reductions in implicit stereotyping in contrast, for high-prejudiced Whites, the relationship was weaker and nonsignificant. These findings demonstrate that the good intentions of aversive racists can be harnessed to promote self-initiated change in even unconscious biases with sufficient awareness, effort, and practice.

Son Hing, Li, and Zanna (2002 ) extended work along these lines by examining responses of people identified as non-prejudiced (low in both explicit and implicit prejudice) and aversive racists (low in explicit prejudice but high in implicit prejudice) to self-awareness of one's own hypocrisy. In a study conducted in Canada with Asians as the target minority group, participants were assigned to either a hypocrisy condition, in which they reflected on situations in which they had reacted negatively or unfairly toward an Asian person, or to a control condition in which they were not asked to write about such situations. The researchers predicted that making people aware of violations of their egalitarian principles would arouse guilt among aversive racists (who harbor negative feelings toward Asians) and thus produce compensatory behavior when recommending funding for Asian student groups among aversive racists but not among non-prejudiced participants. The results supported the predictions. Aversive racists in the hypocrisy condition experienced uniquely high levels of guilt and displayed the most generous funding recommendations for the Asian Students’ Association. The funding recommendations of truly low-prejudiced participants, however, were not affected by the hypocrisy manipulation. Son Hing et al. (2002 ) concluded that making people aware of their biases is particularly effective at reducing bias among people who explicitly endorse egalitarian principles while also possessing implicit biases – the factors that characterize aversive racists.

Additional support for this conclusion was obtained from a study that examined physicians’ responses to descriptions of patients showing signs of coronary artery disease. Green et al. (2007 ) found that physicians higher in implicit (but not explicit) racial bias were less likely to recommend aggressive treatment (thrombolysis) for Black relative to White patients. However, physicians who were aware that their recommendations could be influenced by non-conscious racial biases did not show the same relationship between implicit bias and treatment recommendations: Among those who were aware of this potential influence at the outset (approximately 24% of respondents), those with stronger implicit pro-white bias were, in fact, more likely to recommend Black patients for thrombolytic treatment than those with weaker implicit biases. Thus, these individuals were able to consciously ‘correct’ for their implicit biases when making clinical recommendations.

Controlling implicit bias through non-conscious goals. Although bias control has traditionally been conceptualized in terms of conscious efforts to inhibit negative attitudes and stereotypes that become activated in one's mind, recent studies suggest that biases may also be combated at the implicit level through non-conscious processes that inhibit their activation in the first place. In particular, research on non-conscious self-regulation ( Bargh, 1990 ) suggests that goals, such as efforts to be egalitarian, need not be consciously pursued in order to exert influence over one's thoughts and behavior. In a series of studies, Moskowitz, Salomon, and Taylor (2000 ) found that individuals with chronic (explicit) race-related egalitarian goals, but not those with non-chronic egalitarian goals, were faster to respond to egalitarian-relevant words when primed with African-American compared to White faces. In addition, whereas individuals without chronic egalitarian goals responded more quickly to stereotype-relevant (versus stereotype irrelevant) words following African-American faces, individuals with chronic egalitarian goals showed no such evidence of stereotype activation in response to African-American faces (see also Lepore & Brown, 1997 Kawakami, Dion, & Dovidio, 1998 ).

Building on these findings, Moskowitz and colleagues (see Moskowitz & Ignarri, forthcoming , for a review) have found that interventions that enhance motivations to be egalitarian (e.g., having participants describe a personal incident in which they failed to be egalitarian towards African Americans) can not only attenuate, but actively inhibit non-conscious stereotyping. In their research, Whites who were primed in this way were slower to respond to stereotype-relevant, compared to stereotype irrelevant, words after being primed with African-American faces, indicating stereotype inhibition rather than simple non-activation. Importantly, these effects occurred at speeds too fast to implicate conscious control and occurred despite participants being unaware of the relevance of the cognitive reaction time task to stereotyping, implicating an implicit form of bias control operating outside of conscious awareness. Together, these findings suggest that one need not chronically or even consciously pursue egalitarian goals to inhibit the activation of stereotypic thoughts even temporarily activating egalitarian goals was sufficient to reduce implicit stereotyping.

Current research on non-conscious goal pursuit is exploring social and cognitive extensions of these effects. For example, work by Aarts, Gollwitzer, and Hassin (2004 ) on goal contagion reveals that goals such as motivations to not be prejudiced may become automatically activated simply in the presence of egalitarian-minded others, suggesting the importance of observing others’ egalitarian behavior and egalitarian social norms more generally for controlling automatic biases. Other research reveals that goals need not even relate to egalitarianism in or to be effective in combating implicit bias. Sassenberg and Moskowitz (2005 ), for example, revealed that priming creativity (a goal that conflicts with the energy-saving and simplifying features of stereotyping) similarly reduced stereotype activation, suggesting that any goal that is incompatible with stereotyping (in this case, the goal to form atypical associations) may contribute to successful bias control. Finally, Spencer, Fein, Wolfe, Fong, and Dunn (1998 ) identified important boundary conditions for these effects. Whereas some goals may inhibit implicit biases, other, seemingly unrelated, goals (such as the goal to maintain one's self-esteem) can actually enhance the activation of stereotypes ( Spencer et al., 1998 ). Thus, understanding both the nature and the personal and social functions of non-conscious goal pursuits has important implications for understanding the conditions under which efforts to control biases are likely to succeed or fail.

In summary, whereas conscious efforts to avoid stereotyping may often fail or even exacerbate bias because individuals lack insight into the processes that promote and regulate it, passive implicit goals to not stereotype may succeed by co-opting the very psychological mechanisms that sustain it, replacing stereotypic associations with egalitarian or atypical associations when perceiving or interacting with members of other racial and ethnic groups.

Reducing implicit biases through intergroup contact. Recent studies have also begun to explore the effects of intergroup contact on implicit forms of bias. For example, Tam, Hewstone, Harwood, Voci, and Kenworthy (2006 ) and Turner, Hewstone, and Voci (2007 ) assessed the effects of contact on implicit and explicit attitudes toward elderly persons and Whites’ attitudes toward South Asians, respectively. In general, consistent with the idea that implicit attitudes reflect conditioned associations ( Fazio & Olson, 2003 ) that may be dissociated from explicit attitudes, measures of the overall amount of intergroup contact (e.g., proportion of neighbors who are out-group members) were generally found to be better predictors of lower implicit prejudice than were measures of the quality of contact (e.g., self-disclosure and emotional closeness), which better predicted explicit attitudes. However, Aberson and Haag (2007 ) found that among those who experienced little intergroup contact, the quality of contact did predict their level of implicit bias. Interestingly, in all of these studies, the effects of contact on implicit attitudes were not mediated by factors that typically mediate explicit attitudes (e.g., reduced intergroup anxiety, greater perspective taking), but, rather, showed a direct, positive impact on implicit attitudes, suggesting the potential value of simple exposure to out-groups for reducing unconscious biases (for a similar argument, see Karpinski & Hilton, 2001 ). More generally, these findings suggest that, as hypothesized within the aversive racism framework, implicit and explicit attitudes are qualitatively distinct, as opposed to merely reflecting different components of the same attitude, and need to be considered in tandem when developing interventions aimed at combating contemporary prejudice.


Bias and Interracial Interaction

An important implication of the aversive racism framework is that the dissociation between the positive conscious (explicit) attitudes and negative unconscious (implicit) attitudes of aversive racists fundamentally influences the ways Whites interact with Blacks. Considerable past research has shown that implicit and explicit attitudes influence behavior in different ways and under different conditions (see Dovidio, Kawakami, & Gaertner, 2002b Dovidio, Kawakami, Johnson, Johnson, & Howard, 1997b Dovidio, Kawakami, Smoak, & Gaertner, 2009 Fazio, Jackson, Dunton, & Williams, 1995 Fazio & Olson, 2003 Wilson, Lindsey, & Schooler, 2000 ). Whereas explicit attitudes typically shape deliberative, well-considered responses for which people have the motivation and opportunity to weigh the costs and benefits of various courses of action, implicit attitudes typically influence responses that are more difficult to monitor or control (e.g., some nonverbal behaviors see Chen & Bargh, 1997 McConnell & Leibold, 2001 ) or responses that people do not view as diagnostic of their attitude and thus do not try to control.

For instance, Dovidio et al. (1997b) found that Whites’ negative implicit attitudes predict nonverbal cues of discomfort (increased rate of blinking) and aversion (decreased eye contact) toward Blacks (see also Word, Zanna, & Cooper, 1974 ), whereas Whites self-reported, explicit attitudes predict open evaluations and liking of Blacks. Aversive racists, who have favorable conscious views of Blacks but also harbor unconscious negative attitudes or associations (see Karpinski & Hilton, 2001 ), are, thus, likely to convey mixed-messages in interracial interactions.

Biases in interpersonal relations. One fundamental implication of these processes is that Whites and Blacks are likely to form very different perceptions of race relations, with Blacks developing a general sense of distrust of Whites ( Dovidio, Gaertner, Kawakami, & Hodson, 2002a ). In particular, Whites’ perceptions about how they are behaving or how they are perceived by others are based more on their explicit attitudes and overt behaviors, such as the verbal content of their interaction with Blacks, and less on their implicit attitudes or less deliberative behaviors. In contrast, the perspective of Black interaction partners in these interracial interactions allows them to attend to both the spontaneous (e.g., nonverbal) and deliberative (e.g., verbal) behaviors of Whites. To the extent that the Black partners attend to Whites’ nonverbal behaviors, which may signal more negativity than their verbal behaviors, Blacks are likely to form more negative impressions of their partners and be less satisfied with the interaction compared with Whites.

Research on egocentric biases in social perception suggests a basic social psychological mechanism for the formation and maintenance of the differing perspectives of Blacks and Whites in social interactions. Because people often have greater access to their own internal mental states (e.g., motivations, intentions) than the mental states of others, they often utilize and weigh introspective information more heavily when making self-judgments than when making judgments of others (‘introspection illusion’ see Pronin, 2009 ). In part because of the prominence of one's own mental states, within social interactions actors often fail to recognize that their internal states are not readily visible to their partners, who instead base their interpersonal judgments more on the behaviors of the individuals they are interacting with. Consistent with this reasoning, Dovidio, Kawakami, and Gaertner (2002b ) found direct evidence of Blacks’ and Whites’ divergent perspectives in intergroup interactions based on access to different sources of information (e.g., verbal versus nonverbal behavior). White participants, whose implicit and explicit racial attitudes were previously assessed, engaged in separate videotaped conversations with a White and a Black partner that were race-neutral in content. Supportive of hypotheses derived from the aversive racism framework, Blacks’ perceptions of their White partners’ friendliness were predicted by assessments of Whites’ nonverbal (but not verbal) behavior and their partner's implicit (but not explicit) racial attitudes. In contrast, consistent with an introspective bias, White participants’ judgments of their own friendliness were associated with their explicit (but not implicit) attitudes toward Blacks and were predicted by independent raters’ assessments of their verbal friendliness. Thus, because of their very different perspectives and reliance on different information (verbal versus nonverbal behavior), Whites and Blacks left the same interaction with very different impressions.

Other studies further suggest that the nonverbal behaviors emitted by the White participants in interpersonal contexts, which may be exacerbated by concerns about appearing racist ( Goff, Steele, & Davies, 2008 ), may primarily reflect underlying negative affective responses that are often automatic and difficult to control ( Amodio, Harmon-Jones, & Devine, 2003 Dovidio et al., 1997 ). To the extent that Blacks attribute the subtle nonverbal avoidant behaviors of Whites to explicit, rather than implicit, prejudice, they may misperceive these behaviors as intentional. Results of recent studies suggest that such an attribution may influence Blacks’ affective experiences in a way that produces a self-fulfilling prophecy. Shelton, Richeson, and Salvatore (2005 ) found that the more ethnic minorities expected to be the target of prejudice, the more negative affect they experienced during the interracial interaction, even when engaging in more positive compensatory behaviors to avoid rejection by their partner. These negative perceptions and experiences can fuel tensions in social interactions and lessen Blacks’ and Whites’ interests in initiating and sustaining cross-group contact ( Pearson et al., 2008 ). In addition, perceptions of bias in one's partner can reinforce the common belief that members of other racial and ethnic groups are generally less interested in engaging intergroup contact than are members of one's own racial or ethnic group ( Shelton & Richeson, 2005 ). Together, these findings suggest that the subtle and complex nature of contemporary prejudice can shape the everyday perceptions of White and Black Americans in ways that interfere with interpersonal trust and communication that are critical to establishing positive and effective cross-group interactions.

Biases and team performance. Besides shaping different impressions and perceptions, contemporary biases can also influence interpersonal relations in ways that unintentionally but adversely affect the performance of Whites and racial and ethnic minorities working in teams. To the extent explicit bias may impact perceptions of friendliness and support, overt biases may be expected to directly impact group productivity. To the extent that implicit racial attitudes may be detected through more subtle behaviors, these unconscious biases may erode trust between group members and indirectly hinder team performance.

To test this reasoning, Dovidio (2001 ) examined the interpersonal impressions and performance of Blacks who interacted with non-prejudiced Whites (i.e., those low in both explicit and implicit prejudice), prejudiced Whites (i.e., those high in both explicit and implicit prejudice), and White aversive racists (low in explicit prejudice but high in implicit prejudice) on a joint problem-solving task. The results for perceptions of friendliness were comparable to those of Dovidio et al. (2002b) . Whites who scored low in explicit prejudice (i.e., non-prejudiced Whites and aversive racists) reported that they behaved more friendly than those who scored high in prejudice (overtly prejudiced Whites). However, Black participants showed sensitivity to both their partners’ explicit and implicit attitudes: They perceived Whites who were unbiased on the implicit measure (non-prejudiced Whites) to be more friendly than those who showed implicit biases (aversive racists and prejudiced Whites). They were also less trustful of aversive racists and overtly prejudiced Whites than of non-prejudiced Whites. Results of the groups’ efficiency in problem-solving showed a similar pattern. Interracial teams consisting of a Black participant and a non-prejudiced White participant performed the best, interracial teams with an overtly prejudiced White participant were the next most efficient group, and those with a White aversive racist performed the worst. Presumably, the conflicting messages displayed by aversive racists ( Dovidio et al., 2002 ) and the divergent impressions of the team members’ interaction reduced the overall effectiveness of the team.

These results suggest that, to the extent Blacks are a racial minority in an organization and are often dependent on high-prejudiced Whites or aversive racists for work-related tasks, their performance is likely to be objectively poorer than the performance of the majority of their White counterparts who primarily work with other Whites. Thus, within the workplace, even unconscious and unintentional biases can have consequences that may be detrimental to the job performance and, ultimately, the well-being of racial and ethnic minorities, and the success of professional organizations more broadly. Indeed, in a recent national survey of 1,700 corporate managers and professionals, subtle bias among coworkers was cited as a leading reason for job change and voluntary layoff, particularly among people of color, affecting an estimated 2 million workers in the United States annually at an estimated cost of $64 billion in wages ( Corporate Leavers Survey, 2007 ). Among those who reported experiencing bias at work, nearly one third (27%) indicated that their experience strongly discouraged them from recommending their employer to prospective employees, and 13% reported that their experience discouraged them from recommending their employer's products or services to potential clients. The report concluded that, ‘overt and illegal discrimination is no longer the largest threat to recruiting and retaining the “best and the brightest.” Unfairness, in the form of every-day inappropriate behaviors . is a very real, prevalent and damaging part of the work environment’ (p. 2, Executive Summary).


3. Methodology

3.1 Perspective and research design

This research was conducted using the basic principles of abductive reasoning, a process of discovery based on the interaction of theory and practice, and of researcher and research objects (Dubois and Gadde, 2002). Qualitative research following the principles of abductive reasoning was deemed suitable for the study for the following reasons. First, while specific sources of disruption and strategic responses to them have been addressed in the literature, broader examinations that include multiple overlapping disruptive forces are lacking. To address this shortcoming, we prioritized exploratory qualitative inquiry that is open for emerging findings. Second, the abductive analytical strategy allows us to refine the data-driven observations with insights from existing theory and increase the theoretical relevance of the findings. This process enables reasoning the best explanations for how executives of manufacturing companies perceive disruptive opportunities and threats and how they manage them. Thereby, although the research was guided by disruptive innovation theory, the authors used an inductive approach to structure the data and combined the emerging findings with existing constructs from theory.

3.2 Research setting

25 Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment

28 Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c.

29 Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers

30 Manufacture of other transport equipment

33 Repair and installation of machinery and equipment

Based on employee count, we then listed the 20 biggest companies with international operations and identified and contacted top managers. We ended up with 15 informants from 10 companies. Most of the informants were directors of business divisions some had major roles with a R&D, marketing or IT emphasis. Their titles included head of business unit/line, head of strategy, director of sales and marketing and director of business development. All informants were confident in discussing disruptions in their industry. Seven of the corporations had headquarters in Finland and three were headquartered in another European country.

3.3 Data collection and analysis

The data were collected in 15 focused interviews between June and September 2019. Each interview lasted from 30 to 60 min. List of the interviewees is included in the Appendix. The interviews covered four themes: (1) competitiveness and renewal of Finnish manufacturing industry, (2) disruption and transformation, (3) barriers and challenges for organizational renewal and responding to disruptions and (4) elements supporting renewal and responses. The interview themes are in line with our aim to investigate various disruptive forces and response strategies broadly, without focusing on single sources of disruptions and their effects.

The data were initially analysed independently by three researchers using descriptive and simultaneous coding methods (Saldaña, 2009). After the initial coding, the researchers used the pattern coding method (Saldaña, 2009) to reveal patterns in the codes. During data collection and analysis the researchers wrote analytic memos with a view to fostering reflection about the data and synthesizing data into higher-level analytic meanings (Miles et al., 2014). In the analysis phase, we focused on two main areas. First, what kind of disruptions do the top managers foresee to influence their industry. We identified a number of sources of disruption from the data and categorized them into four groups (Figure 1). The categorization was influenced by extant theory on disruptions (Table 1) as our empirical findings supported them to a large extent. To achieve a good fit with our data, we combined some disruption types from the literature and named them appropriately. Our second focus area concerned how managers acknowledged sources of disruptions in their strategic choices. Likewise, we sought insights from existing theory, including Table 2, and formulated eight response strategies (Figure 2). We further identified that some of the strategies resembled each other in that they addressed specific strategic issues such as ecosystems and stance on new entrants in an industry. We revisited the literature and found that the distinction between exploitation and exploitation, introduced by March (1991), provided a way to classify the strategies into two groups based on whether they rely on exploiting existing strengths or exploring new opportunities. Consequently, we arranged the strategies as four exploitation–exploration pairs, where each pair depicted two alternative approaches to a disruption-related strategic issue.


Chapter Two - Through a looking glass, darkly: Using mechanisms of mind perception to identify accuracy, overconfidence, and underappreciated means for improvement

People care about the minds of others, attempting to understand others' thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and emotions using a highly sophisticated process of social cognition. Others' minds are among the most complicated systems that any person will ever think about, meaning that inferences about them are also made imperfectly. Research on the processes that enable mental state inference has largely developed in isolation from research examining the accuracy of these inferences, leaving the former literature somewhat impractical and the latter somewhat atheoretical. We weave these literatures together by describing how basic mechanisms that govern the activation and application of mental state inferences help to explain systematic patterns of accuracy, error, and confidence in mind perception. Altering any of these basic processes, such as through perspective taking or increasing attention to behavioral cues, is likely to increase accuracy only in very specific circumstances. We suggest the most widely effective method for increasing accuracy is to avoid these inference processes altogether by getting another's perspective directly (what we refer to as perspective getting). Those in the midst of understanding the mind of another, however, seem largely unable to detect when they are using an effective versus ineffective strategy while engaging in mind reading, meaning that the most effective approaches for increasing interpersonal understanding are likely to be highly undervalued. Understanding how mind perception is activated and applied can explain accuracy and error, identifying effective strategies that mind readers may nevertheless fail to appreciate in their everyday lives.

Through a looking glass, darkly: Using mechanisms of mind perception to identify accuracy, overconfidence, and underappreciated means for improvement.


Multiculturalism_Multi-Cultural Counseling

Group level: similarities and differences (gender, SES, age, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, religious preference, etc.)
Can be in different groups and one group identity may be more salient than other

Actively trying to understand client's worldview (knowledge)

Actively developing intervention strategies appropriate for the client (skills)

Belief in the Inferiority of Others

Power to Impose Standards

Manifestation in Institutions

emotional expressiveness- like Latino and Asian cultural will that the maturity and wisdom are associated with ones ability to control emotions and feelings. so American may think they are repressed.

Chinese society, psychology has little relevance. like just because ur not insightful doesn't mean ur incapable of insight

1st many think too much thinking causes problems. avoid morbid thoughts, don't think about it.

2nd is many racial. ethnic minority psychologists have felt that insight is a value in itself. that insight led to behavior change. but not always. in fact many behavioral therapist think change in behavior lead to insight not vice-versa.


Mindfulness in Buddhism & Psychology

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Christopher K. Germer, PhD is a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He is the author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy.

He taught Training Compassion: From the Buddha to Modern Psychology, with Mu Soeng, at BCBS September 7-9, 2012.

Insight Journal asked Germer to talk about some key aspects of the growing overlap of Buddhist ideas and practices with Western psychotherapy.

Insight Journal: Western psychology has had a couple of decades now, at least, in which the insights into human psychology in Buddhism have had a significant and broadening impact. Just how great has that impact been? Are there still doubters who think this is a fad of some kind that will pass?

Christopher Germer: There will always be doubters but they seem to be disappearing fast. In our culture, for better or worse, the scientific method is a major arbiter of “truth” and the sheer volume of psychological research is growing fast. For example, in 2005 there were only about 350 peer-reviewed articles on “mindfulness” in the psychological literature and now that number is almost 1800. Mindfulness, considered the heart of Buddhist psychology, has been integrated into every school of psychotherapy and has become a major treatment paradigm in its own right, with proven effectiveness for treating depression, anxiety, irritable bowel, chronic pain, smoking, insomnia, hot flashes and many other conditions. The military even conducts mindfulness-based “mental fitness” programs to reduce the incidence of post-traumatic stress.

The use of neuroimaging—objective measures of how the brain changes through mind training—has helped to remove doubts about the effectiveness of Buddhist meditation. In the future, imaging will probably be used clinically to identify maladaptive brain patterns associated with mental illness, and when that happens, techniques such as meditation will be tapped to alter how the brain functions. I believe that interest in Buddhist ideas and practices will only grow over the coming decades.

Positive psychology, which focuses on human flourishing rather than mental illness, is also learning a lot from Buddhism, particularly how mindfulness and compassion can enhance wellbeing. This has been the domain of Buddhism for the past two millennia and we’re just adding a scientific perspective.

I think modern psychology has just begun to scratch the surface of Buddhist psychology. Mindfulness was a fledgling science in 1985 and now it’s mainstream, but new vistas are emerging. For example, as social scientists and psychotherapists deepen their understanding of Buddhist psychology, they’re developing the new science of compassion, the science of wisdom, exploring the impact of refined states of consciousness on the brain and behavior, investigating the health benefits of ethical, pro-social behavior, and they’re developing a range of innovative treatment strategies for hard-to-treat mental conditions.

IJ:Do you worry that important parts of the Dhamma are being lost in translation, if you will, as they are applied in as part of a broader therapeutic approach?

CG: Probably not as much as I should. Thanks to Jon Kabat-Zinn and the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, therapists understand the importance of personal practice. That opens the door to new and interesting aspects of the Dhamma. However, we need to accept that most therapists will only skim the surface of the Dhamma. Even in Buddhist countries like Thailand, only a small minority of the population has the time or interest to meditate or read Buddhist texts.

I think the Dhamma is beneficial to people to whatever extent they’re willing to engage it. For example, there’s no harm in learning mindful walking or mindful eating and teaching it to others, and the power of these simple practices often triggers curiosity and leads to further inquiry and practice. We all have to start somewhere.

The notion of “insight”—insight into suffering, impermanence, and no-self—are still seldom discussed in clinical circles. Over the years, I suspect that more and more therapists will experience the transformative potential of insight when they go on retreats and bring that knowledge back into the professional conversation. Some colleagues are already taking a deep plunge such as Boston psychotherapists Bill and Susan Morgan who are on a three-year retreat at the Forest Refuge. The experience of insight is a valuable asset to therapists. For example, the insight that the severity of our suffering depends largely on our attitude toward it provides hope and emotional freedom in the midst of seemingly unbearable suffering.
IJ:What are the most important insights for Western mental health professionals to understand to put it another way, which of these insights most radically transforms what the Western psychological tradition has taken as given?

CG: I think the insight I just mentioned is very important—our relationship to emotional pain is a key factor in how much we suffer. For example, the latest wave of cognitive behavior therapy understands that trying to directly change our thoughts is less effective than creating a wide, openhearted space for our experience—a less resistant, less avoidant relationship to our thoughts and feelings. This view is expressed in the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy maxim: “Thoughts are thoughts, not facts.” Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is also embracing the notion that shifting our relationship to childhood experience is more important than remembering all the details.

Another insight is the importance of intention. Until now, scientific psychology has been primarily concerned with thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Since the advent of mindfulness and acceptance-based therapy, we’re noticing that progress in therapy can be measured by a shift in intention—moving from resistance and aversion to acceptance. Everyone who comes to therapy is resisting emotional pain, perhaps anxiety or depression. As psychologist Steven Hayes says, “Control is the problem, not the solution.” The path toward acceptance in therapy seems to occur in stages: (1) curiosity, (2) tolerance, (3) willingness, and finally (4) friendship. Full acceptance, or the ability to embrace the pain in our lives, may seem like a tall order, especially when a person is panicking or overwhelmed with grief, but getting there is the art of psychotherapy.

Yet another contribution of Buddhism to western psychology is that capacities such as attention, compassion and empathy are skills that can be learned, rather than simply a product of good genes or a fortunate childhood. Believe it or not, this is a new understanding. Sigmund Freud recommended “evenly hovering attention” as the optimal state of mind for an analyst, but he didn’t offer any suggestions for how to achieve that frame of mind (besides a personal analysis). Now we know that the skills of mindfulness meditation—focused awareness, open monitoring, and loving-kindness—can be practiced on the cushion and even during the therapy hour itself. The latter practice—relational mindfulness—is a relatively new interest for both American Buddhists and psychotherapists.

A fascinating new field of psychology that is co-emerging with Buddhist psychology in the West is “social neuroscience” or “interpersonal neurobiology.” Social neuroscience explores how human interactions shape our brains, and researchers such as Dan Siegel at UCLA have discovered that emotionally attuned interactions activate similar brain areas as mindfulness and compassion meditation. Therefore, our ability to pay attention with empathy and compassion can be developed when we sit in solitary meditation skills that are essential to a therapeutic relationship and effective treatment in general. Graduate programs in clinical and counseling psychology around the country are starting to recommend and teach mindfulness meditation to their students.

Mindfulness is also being taught to clinicians for self-care and to alleviate compassion fatigue. Traditionally, self-care involves taking time off from work to recharge one’s batteries, but this approach doesn’t teach therapists to thrive during stressful situations themselves. Self-care keeps caregivers from drowning, as physician Michael Kearney suggests, but self-care with mindfulness is like “learning to breathe under water.” Compassion training, especially self-compassion, is also a protection against compassion fatigue. As neuroscientist Tanya Singer suggests, compassion fatigue is really “empathy fatigue.” Compassion is a positive attitude—closely related to loving-kindness—and is more energizing than depleting. Empathy alone, without the warmth of compassion, can be truly exhausting.

These are just a few ways that Buddhist theory and practice are affecting mental health care. The meeting of Buddhist and modern psychology is like a rising tide that is lifting a lot of boats.

IJ:Where would you say Western psychology is on the timeline of its evolution? If we use the metaphor of a human life, is it an infant, in grade school, adolescence, adult?

CG: I’d say grade school. I met a retired diplomat in India who accompanied Carl Jung on his first visit to Benares, and he quoted Carl Jung as saying that “compared to India, western psychology is in its infancy.” In the early 1900’s, William James at Harvard University said that everyone would be studying Buddhist psychology in about 25 years. That time has finally come, almost a century later. Mostly in the last 10 years, we’re witnessing a remarkable convergence of the ancient, introspective wisdom of the East with western, objective scientific psychology, yielding a more comprehensive understanding of the human psyche. Neuroimaging helps a lot to validate contemplative practice—now we can even measure changes in the connective tissue of the brain with 11 hours of meditation. I think we’ll go even further when we have the technology to measure energy in the body—chi. And neurofeedback—knowing when we’re generating beneficial brain patterns in meditation—may shorten the time we need to match our brain states to those of advanced meditators. I doubt that these scientific advances will ever replace the need for insight into the nature of the mind and abiding self-mastery, but recent discoveries in clinical and neuroscience are inspiring people throughout the world to take to the path of inner transformation. I recently visited Korea and China, and found that psychology colleagues (and monastics in Korea) were thrilled to see their ancient wisdom corroborated by modern science. That can only be a good thing for global evolution.

IJ:Looking at this from the other side, what are the most important findings of Western psychology that those of us trying to learn and practice Buddhism should know about? I’m thinking, for example, of the idea that meditation practice can be very helpful, but it can also provide a means of avoiding psychological issues that should be surfaced and dealt with.

CG: I see contemplative practice and psychotherapy as twin paths to emotional healing. It’s true that meditation can be misused as an emotional bypass, but usually not forever. Our unresolved conflicts slip into our lives sooner or later, either on the cushion or in relational conflict. Most emotional suffering originated in relationships and healing relationships can go a long way toward alleviating it. Therefore, therapy is often a useful adjunct to meditative practice, especially if the therapist shares a common model of how suffering is created and alleviated.

As adults, though, the days are long gone when other people can provide all our emotional needs—not the best therapist, the perfect spouse, a loving parent, or the ideal friend can satisfy our adult need for connection and validation. Practicing loving-kindness meditation, especially for ourselves, is an important vehicle for giving ourselves the affection we may not have received in childhood or yearn to receive in our daily lives. I believe my wife would agree that I require less maintenance since I stated practicing mettā meditation, and I feel a lot happier, too.

I think that Western psychologists are helping to put Buddhist ideas into modern language and concepts, which may help dharma teachers and meditators in their practices. Psychologists actively trying to figure out what works in mindfulness meditation—the mechanisms of action—and for whom. For example, they are exploring in great detail the different kinds of attention (focused attention, open monitoring) and qualities of attention (compassion, loving-kindness) from neurological, physiological, and cognitive perspectives. We’ve recently discovered that focused attention practice is probably more effective than loving-kindness to disengage from obsessional thinking. When the Dalai Lama is asked what meditation is good for what problem, he often says that we need “more research.” It may be cheeky to say this, but I believe a new Abhidhamma is currently being written by these very discerning scientist-practitioners who are teasing out the different elements of Buddhist theory and practice.

IJ:Are there specific Buddhist texts that speak to you more than others, as a mental health professional? Do you find there is consensus about these among you and other professionals who are familiar with the texts?

CG: I’d say the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta and the Ānāpānasati Sutta get top honors among my colleagues. I’m also inspired by the Bodhicaryavatara, or The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva. However, most mental health professionals derive their inspiration from meditation practice and commentaries by meditation teachers rather than texts. This is a gap that BCBS is uniquely positioned and actively engaged in filling. For example, Andy Olendzki has very popular courses on early Buddhist psychology and the Abhidhamma that offer continuing education credit to therapists.

IJ:How do you see the role of self-compassion, both in terms of Buddhism and Western psychology?

CG: Some Buddhist practitioners worry that the notion of “self”-compassion subtly reifies the self and leads to greater suffering. I think that’s true when our suffering is rather mild, but when our sense of self is engulfed in intense and disturbing emotions, such as grief, shame or despair, we need to rescue the observer—the experiencer—before we can pay attention to our experience. Giving ourselves the same warmth and kindness that we’d give to a loved one reduces our mental chatter, opens our awareness, reconnects us with others and the world.

Over the past eight years, a considerable body of research has shown that self-compassion is a core mechanism of emotional healing. It’s the implicit attitude of mindfulness, but it helps to explicitly practice self-compassion when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. For example, when we’re meditating and there is no comfort in paying attention to the breath or body sensation, we can simply put our hands over the heart and feel the warmth of our hands, the gentle pressure of the hands on the chest, and the rhythmic movement of the breath under our hands. That simple act reminds us that we’re not only paying attention, but we’re paying loving attention, to our moment-to-moment experience.

Self-compassion is often the only way that people can stop beating up on themselves (and fighting their experience) when things go wrong in their lives. Personally, I had debilitating public speaking anxiety for decades and mettā meditation finally gave me the strength to just be anxious during a speech and let the anxiety play itself out. The practice of loving-kindness meditation is currently a hot research topic and it’s the core practice in the eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion training program that Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, and I have been developing and researching for the past two years.

IJ:How would helping others, as opposed to helping oneself, be seen as a therapeutic tool, in both contexts? Would it be seen similarly in both, or differently?

CG: There is a growing literature in positive psychology on the psychological benefits of compassion for others, gratitude and other “pro-social” emotions. I asked a pioneer in the field, Christopher Peterson, to sum up positive psychology in a few words, and he said, “other people.” Just like the bodhisattva vow, attending to the welfare of others is a prescription for happiness. It liberates us from the illusory prison of individuality. Both Buddhism and positive psychology are on the same page in regard to compassion for others.

In clinical practice, however, self-compassion is usually the starting point and is a more effective way of alleviating suffering. Once we have rediscovered the loveliness in ourselves, then we can see the loveliness in others. It’s impossible to embrace others when we notice and reject qualities in others that we despise in ourselves. The Dalai Lama echoed this view when he said:

“For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others, first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion, and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare…Caring for others requires caring for oneself.”

Ironically, in 2012, self-compassion can no longer be assumed. People don’t necessarily know how to be kind or compassionate toward themselves. Especially when we experience overwhelming emotional pain, most of us kick in negative core beliefs such as “I’m unlovable,” “I’m stupid,” and “I’m defective.” So the path to loving ourselves is often through others. A new research study has shown this as well. In loving-kindness meditation, we learn to evoke loving states of mind by first thinking of a living being who naturally makes us smile, such as a dear dog or cat, and then we tuck ourselves into that circle of compassion. “May you and I be safe and free from suffering.”

Practicing compassion for others, including altruistic action, occurs naturally when we feel more comfortable in our own skin. Historically speaking, this has been the starting point of most Buddhist practice—ordinary unhappiness, but we basically like ourselves—and then we progress toward to the abode of the gods, the Brahmaviharas.

If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting the work of BCBS.


Health Care Complaints: A Resource for Improving Quality and Safety

A health care complaint is a formal communication reporting a failure in service provision that seeks an institutional response (eg, explanation, investigation, apology, change of procedure). Complainants include patients, their family and friends, and concerned professionals. Internationally and across services, there are between 1 and 9 health care complaints per 1,000 admissions. 2, 5-7 Complaints occur when a threshold of dissatisfaction has been breached, 8 with dominant motivations being to correct an ongoing problem or prevent recurrence. 9-11 Complainants purport to have valid information that the institution does not know or has failed to take sufficiently seriously. People often refrain from complaining because it is effortful, time-consuming, and sometimes perceived as futile. 12, 13 Therefore, complaints may overrepresent the concerns of motivated individuals and events that complainants believe are being ignored.

Research on health care complaints has focused on complaint handling, 14 complaint resolution, 15 physician behavior, 16 high-risk clinicians, 17 malpractice claims, 18 and emotional impact on clinicians. 19 Yet, research increasingly suggests that patient experience reflects the quality of care. 20 Complaints, for example, are usually upheld, 21 often contain adverse-event information, 22 have been identified as early warning signals in post-hoc investigations, 23 and are associated with surgical complications, 2, 24 adverse events, 25 and physician malpractice. 26 The debate, we suggest, is no longer whether complaints contain useful information but how valid insights can be reliably extracted. 27

Health care complaints can provide an independent check on quality and safety monitoring methodologies that rely on staff self-report. Although reporting adverse events, 28 recording near misses, 29 measuring safety culture, 30 and evaluating interventions 31 offer useful data, inconsistent reporting means these data are often incomplete. Data omissions are attributable to incidents not being perceived or being perceived differently, reporting criteria not being understood, and staff being unwilling to report because of time constraints, poor systems, or concerns over professional consequences. 31-35 Moreover, it is somewhat paradoxical to rely on staff embedded within a culture to self-report on that culture because the culture itself shapes the practices of reporting. 36, 37

Health care complaints contain data that are difficult to obtain from other sources. They report on the complete patient experience (from before admission until after discharge), covering both micro and macro issues, and focusing attention on issues proximal to patients. Specifically, patients have insight on issues such as continuity of care problems, 38 low-level systemic problems, 39 and unfinished or omitted care. 40 In support of this view, research has found that complaints provide unique data that are additional to patient notes 32, 41 and incident-reporting systems. 22

In summary, health care complaints potentially provide valid, independent, and distinctive data for improving quality and safety. However, utilizing complaint data has been hampered by uncertainty in how to extract actionable insights.


Christopher K. Germer | Insight Journal | Barre Center for Buddhist Studies: Mindfulness in Buddhism & Psychology

Christopher K. Germer, PhD is a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He is the author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy.

He taught Training Compassion: From the Buddha to Modern Psychology, with Mu Soeng, at BCBS September 7-9, 2012.

Insight Journal asked Germer to talk about some key aspects of the growing overlap of Buddhist ideas and practices with Western psychotherapy.

Insight Journal: Western psychology has had a couple of decades now, at least, in which the insights into human psychology in Buddhism have had a significant and broadening impact. Just how great has that impact been? Are there still doubters who think this is a fad of some kind that will pass?

Christopher Germer: There will always be doubters but they seem to be disappearing fast. In our culture, for better or worse, the scientific method is a major arbiter of “truth” and the sheer volume of psychological research is growing fast. For example, in 2005 there were only about 350 peer-reviewed articles on “mindfulness” in the psychological literature and now that number is almost 1800. Mindfulness, considered the heart of Buddhist psychology, has been integrated into every school of psychotherapy and has become a major treatment paradigm in its own right, with proven effectiveness for treating depression, anxiety, irritable bowel, chronic pain, smoking, insomnia, hot flashes and many other conditions. The military even conducts mindfulness-based “mental fitness” programs to reduce the incidence of post-traumatic stress.

The use of neuroimaging—objective measures of how the brain changes through mind training—has helped to remove doubts about the effectiveness of Buddhist meditation. In the future, imaging will probably be used clinically to identify maladaptive brain patterns associated with mental illness, and when that happens, techniques such as meditation will be tapped to alter how the brain functions. I believe that interest in Buddhist ideas and practices will only grow over the coming decades.

Positive psychology, which focuses on human flourishing rather than mental illness, is also learning a lot from Buddhism, particularly how mindfulness and compassion can enhance wellbeing. This has been the domain of Buddhism for the past two millennia and we’re just adding a scientific perspective.

I think modern psychology has just begun to scratch the surface of Buddhist psychology. Mindfulness was a fledgling science in 1985 and now it’s mainstream, but new vistas are emerging. For example, as social scientists and psychotherapists deepen their understanding of Buddhist psychology, they’re developing the new science of compassion, the science of wisdom, exploring the impact of refined states of consciousness on the brain and behavior, investigating the health benefits of ethical, pro-social behavior, and they’re developing a range of innovative treatment strategies for hard-to-treat mental conditions.

IJ:Do you worry that important parts of the Dhamma are being lost in translation, if you will, as they are applied in as part of a broader therapeutic approach?

CG: Probably not as much as I should. Thanks to Jon Kabat-Zinn and the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, therapists understand the importance of personal practice. That opens the door to new and interesting aspects of the Dhamma. However, we need to accept that most therapists will only skim the surface of the Dhamma. Even in Buddhist countries like Thailand, only a small minority of the population has the time or interest to meditate or read Buddhist texts.

I think the Dhamma is beneficial to people to whatever extent they’re willing to engage it. For example, there’s no harm in learning mindful walking or mindful eating and teaching it to others, and the power of these simple practices often triggers curiosity and leads to further inquiry and practice. We all have to start somewhere.

The notion of “insight”—insight into suffering, impermanence, and no-self—are still seldom discussed in clinical circles. Over the years, I suspect that more and more therapists will experience the transformative potential of insight when they go on retreats and bring that knowledge back into the professional conversation. Some colleagues are already taking a deep plunge such as Boston psychotherapists Bill and Susan Morgan who are on a three-year retreat at the Forest Refuge. The experience of insight is a valuable asset to therapists. For example, the insight that the severity of our suffering depends largely on our attitude toward it provides hope and emotional freedom in the midst of seemingly unbearable suffering.

IJ:What are the most important insights for Western mental health professionals to understand to put it another way, which of these insights most radically transforms what the Western psychological tradition has taken as given?

CG: I think the insight I just mentioned is very important—our relationship to emotional pain is a key factor in how much we suffer. For example, the latest wave of cognitive behavior therapy understands that trying to directly change our thoughts is less effective than creating a wide, openhearted space for our experience—a less resistant, less avoidant relationship to our thoughts and feelings. This view is expressed in the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy maxim: “Thoughts are thoughts, not facts.” Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is also embracing the notion that shifting our relationship to childhood experience is more important than remembering all the details.

Another insight is the importance of intention. Until now, scientific psychology has been primarily concerned with thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Since the advent of mindfulness and acceptance-based therapy, we’re noticing that progress in therapy can be measured by a shift in intention—moving from resistance and aversion to acceptance. Everyone who comes to therapy is resisting emotional pain, perhaps anxiety or depression. As psychologist Steven Hayes says, “Control is the problem, not the solution.” The path toward acceptance in therapy seems to occur in stages: (1) curiosity, (2) tolerance, (3) willingness, and finally (4) friendship. Full acceptance, or the ability to embrace the pain in our lives, may seem like a tall order, especially when a person is panicking or overwhelmed with grief, but getting there is the art of psychotherapy.

Yet another contribution of Buddhism to western psychology is that capacities such as attention, compassion and empathy are skills that can be learned, rather than simply a product of good genes or a fortunate childhood. Believe it or not, this is a new understanding. Sigmund Freud recommended “evenly hovering attention” as the optimal state of mind for an analyst, but he didn’t offer any suggestions for how to achieve that frame of mind (besides a personal analysis). Now we know that the skills of mindfulness meditation—focused awareness, open monitoring, and loving-kindness—can be practiced on the cushion and even during the therapy hour itself. The latter practice—relational mindfulness—is a relatively new interest for both American Buddhists and psychotherapists.

A fascinating new field of psychology that is co-emerging with Buddhist psychology in the West is “social neuroscience” or “interpersonal neurobiology.” Social neuroscience explores how human interactions shape our brains, and researchers such as Dan Siegel at UCLA have discovered that emotionally attuned interactions activate similar brain areas as mindfulness and compassion meditation. Therefore, our ability to pay attention with empathy and compassion can be developed when we sit in solitary meditation skills that are essential to a therapeutic relationship and effective treatment in general. Graduate programs in clinical and counseling psychology around the country are starting to recommend and teach mindfulness meditation to their students.

Mindfulness is also being taught to clinicians for self-care and to alleviate compassion fatigue. Traditionally, self-care involves taking time off from work to recharge one’s batteries, but this approach doesn’t teach therapists to thrive during stressful situations themselves. Self-care keeps caregivers from drowning, as physician Michael Kearney suggests, but self-care with mindfulness is like “learning to breathe under water.” Compassion training, especially self-compassion, is also a protection against compassion fatigue. As neuroscientist Tanya Singer suggests, compassion fatigue is really “empathy fatigue.” Compassion is a positive attitude—closely related to loving-kindness—and is more energizing than depleting. Empathy alone, without the warmth of compassion, can be truly exhausting.

These are just a few ways that Buddhist theory and practice are affecting mental health care. The meeting of Buddhist and modern psychology is like a rising tide that is lifting a lot of boats.

IJ:Where would you say Western psychology is on the timeline of its evolution? If we use the metaphor of a human life, is it an infant, in grade school, adolescence, adult?

CG: I’d say grade school. I met a retired diplomat in India who accompanied Carl Jung on his first visit to Benares, and he quoted Carl Jung as saying that “compared to India, western psychology is in its infancy.” In the early 1900’s, William James at Harvard University said that everyone would be studying Buddhist psychology in about 25 years. That time has finally come, almost a century later. Mostly in the last 10 years, we’re witnessing a remarkable convergence of the ancient, introspective wisdom of the East with western, objective scientific psychology, yielding a more comprehensive understanding of the human psyche. Neuroimaging helps a lot to validate contemplative practice—now we can even measure changes in the connective tissue of the brain with 11 hours of meditation. I think we’ll go even further when we have the technology to measure energy in the body—chi. And neurofeedback—knowing when we’re generating beneficial brain patterns in meditation—may shorten the time we need to match our brain states to those of advanced meditators. I doubt that these scientific advances will ever replace the need for insight into the nature of the mind and abiding self-mastery, but recent discoveries in clinical and neuroscience are inspiring people throughout the world to take to the path of inner transformation. I recently visited Korea and China, and found that psychology colleagues (and monastics in Korea) were thrilled to see their ancient wisdom corroborated by modern science. That can only be a good thing for global evolution.

IJ:Looking at this from the other side, what are the most important findings of Western psychology that those of us trying to learn and practice Buddhism should know about? I’m thinking, for example, of the idea that meditation practice can be very helpful, but it can also provide a means of avoiding psychological issues that should be surfaced and dealt with.

CG: I see contemplative practice and psychotherapy as twin paths to emotional healing. It’s true that meditation can be misused as an emotional bypass, but usually not forever. Our unresolved conflicts slip into our lives sooner or later, either on the cushion or in relational conflict. Most emotional suffering originated in relationships and healing relationships can go a long way toward alleviating it. Therefore, therapy is often a useful adjunct to meditative practice, especially if the therapist shares a common model of how suffering is created and alleviated.

As adults, though, the days are long gone when other people can provide all our emotional needs—not the best therapist, the perfect spouse, a loving parent, or the ideal friend can satisfy our adult need for connection and validation. Practicing loving-kindness meditation, especially for ourselves, is an important vehicle for giving ourselves the affection we may not have received in childhood or yearn to receive in our daily lives. I believe my wife would agree that I require less maintenance since I stated practicing mettā meditation, and I feel a lot happier, too.

I think that Western psychologists are helping to put Buddhist ideas into modern language and concepts, which may help dharma teachers and meditators in their practices. Psychologists actively trying to figure out what works in mindfulness meditation—the mechanisms of action—and for whom. For example, they are exploring in great detail the different kinds of attention (focused attention, open monitoring) and qualities of attention (compassion, loving-kindness) from neurological, physiological, and cognitive perspectives. We’ve recently discovered that focused attention practice is probably more effective than loving-kindness to disengage from obsessional thinking. When the Dalai Lama is asked what meditation is good for what problem, he often says that we need “more research.” It may be cheeky to say this, but I believe a new Abhidhamma is currently being written by these very discerning scientist-practitioners who are teasing out the different elements of Buddhist theory and practice.

IJ:Are there specific Buddhist texts that speak to you more than others, as a mental health professional? Do you find there is consensus about these among you and other professionals who are familiar with the texts?

CG: I’d say the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta and the Ānāpānasati Sutta get top honors among my colleagues. I’m also inspired by the Bodhicaryavatara, or The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva. However, most mental health professionals derive their inspiration from meditation practice and commentaries by meditation teachers rather than texts. This is a gap that BCBS is uniquely positioned and actively engaged in filling. For example, Andy Olendzki has very popular courses on early Buddhist psychology and the Abhidhamma that offer continuing education credit to therapists.

IJ:How do you see the role of self-compassion, both in terms of Buddhism and Western psychology?

CG: Some Buddhist practitioners worry that the notion of “self”-compassion subtly reifies the self and leads to greater suffering. I think that’s true when our suffering is rather mild, but when our sense of self is engulfed in intense and disturbing emotions, such as grief, shame or despair, we need to rescue the observer—the experiencer—before we can pay attention to our experience. Giving ourselves the same warmth and kindness that we’d give to a loved one reduces our mental chatter, opens our awareness, reconnects us with others and the world.

Over the past eight years, a considerable body of research has shown that self-compassion is a core mechanism of emotional healing. It’s the implicit attitude of mindfulness, but it helps to explicitly practice self-compassion when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. For example, when we’re meditating and there is no comfort in paying attention to the breath or body sensation, we can simply put our hands over the heart and feel the warmth of our hands, the gentle pressure of the hands on the chest, and the rhythmic movement of the breath under our hands. That simple act reminds us that we’re not only paying attention, but we’re paying loving attention, to our moment-to-moment experience.

Self-compassion is often the only way that people can stop beating up on themselves (and fighting their experience) when things go wrong in their lives. Personally, I had debilitating public speaking anxiety for decades and mettā meditation finally gave me the strength to just be anxious during a speech and let the anxiety play itself out. The practice of loving-kindness meditation is currently a hot research topic and it’s the core practice in the eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion training program that Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, and I have been developing and researching for the past two years.

IJ:How would helping others, as opposed to helping oneself, be seen as a therapeutic tool, in both contexts? Would it be seen similarly in both, or differently?

CG: There is a growing literature in positive psychology on the psychological benefits of compassion for others, gratitude and other “pro-social” emotions. I asked a pioneer in the field, Christopher Peterson, to sum up positive psychology in a few words, and he said, “other people.” Just like the bodhisattva vow, attending to the welfare of others is a prescription for happiness. It liberates us from the illusory prison of individuality. Both Buddhism and positive psychology are on the same page in regard to compassion for others.

In clinical practice, however, self-compassion is usually the starting point and is a more effective way of alleviating suffering. Once we have rediscovered the loveliness in ourselves, then we can see the loveliness in others. It’s impossible to embrace others when we notice and reject qualities in others that we despise in ourselves. The Dalai Lama echoed this view when he said:

“For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others, first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion, and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare…Caring for others requires caring for oneself.”

Ironically, in 2012, self-compassion can no longer be assumed. People don’t necessarily know how to be kind or compassionate toward themselves. Especially when we experience overwhelming emotional pain, most of us kick in negative core beliefs such as “I’m unlovable,” “I’m stupid,” and “I’m defective.” So the path to loving ourselves is often through others. A new research study has shown this as well. In loving-kindness meditation, we learn to evoke loving states of mind by first thinking of a living being who naturally makes us smile, such as a dear dog or cat, and then we tuck ourselves into that circle of compassion. “May you and I be safe and free from suffering.”

Practicing compassion for others, including altruistic action, occurs naturally when we feel more comfortable in our own skin. Historically speaking, this has been the starting point of most Buddhist practice—ordinary unhappiness, but we basically like ourselves—and then we progress toward to the abode of the gods, the Brahmaviharas.


Abstract

Business-to-business (B2B) buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to judge the true sustainability of supply chain partners (Oruezabala & Rico, 2012). Yet three-quarters of buyers in the OECD report they will dismiss potential supply chain partners who fail to meet sustainability criteria (Pierre, 2008). B2B firms then, cannot afford any confusion over their sustainability practices and positioning. Unfortunately, there are no sustainability positioning measures for firms to assess this, and there is no agreed upon operationalization of a highly sustainable firm vs a weakly sustainable firm. As such, this research creates a B2B sustainability positioning scale and taxonomy. First, interviews with buyers and marketing managers determine perceptions of supplier sustainability practices and defines B2B levels of sustainability. Second, exploratory and confirmatory scale development studies are conducted with 578 experienced industrial buyers. The resulting B2B sustainability positioning scale shows that a sustainably superior positioning for B2B addresses five key factors: (1) sustainability credibility, (2) concern for environmental impact, (3) a careful consideration of stakeholders, (4) resource efficiency, and (5) a holistic philosophy. This scale is intended as a tool to help B2B marketers understand and better leverage their sustainability practices and communications around sustainability.

“We're trying to be cleaner and greener: We recycle waste and switch things off. We use paper from responsibly managed forests whenever possible. We ask our printers to actively reduce waste and energy consumption. We check out our suppliers' working conditions. ”


3. Methodology

3.1 Perspective and research design

This research was conducted using the basic principles of abductive reasoning, a process of discovery based on the interaction of theory and practice, and of researcher and research objects (Dubois and Gadde, 2002). Qualitative research following the principles of abductive reasoning was deemed suitable for the study for the following reasons. First, while specific sources of disruption and strategic responses to them have been addressed in the literature, broader examinations that include multiple overlapping disruptive forces are lacking. To address this shortcoming, we prioritized exploratory qualitative inquiry that is open for emerging findings. Second, the abductive analytical strategy allows us to refine the data-driven observations with insights from existing theory and increase the theoretical relevance of the findings. This process enables reasoning the best explanations for how executives of manufacturing companies perceive disruptive opportunities and threats and how they manage them. Thereby, although the research was guided by disruptive innovation theory, the authors used an inductive approach to structure the data and combined the emerging findings with existing constructs from theory.

3.2 Research setting

25 Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment

28 Manufacture of machinery and equipment n.e.c.

29 Manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers

30 Manufacture of other transport equipment

33 Repair and installation of machinery and equipment

Based on employee count, we then listed the 20 biggest companies with international operations and identified and contacted top managers. We ended up with 15 informants from 10 companies. Most of the informants were directors of business divisions some had major roles with a R&D, marketing or IT emphasis. Their titles included head of business unit/line, head of strategy, director of sales and marketing and director of business development. All informants were confident in discussing disruptions in their industry. Seven of the corporations had headquarters in Finland and three were headquartered in another European country.

3.3 Data collection and analysis

The data were collected in 15 focused interviews between June and September 2019. Each interview lasted from 30 to 60 min. List of the interviewees is included in the Appendix. The interviews covered four themes: (1) competitiveness and renewal of Finnish manufacturing industry, (2) disruption and transformation, (3) barriers and challenges for organizational renewal and responding to disruptions and (4) elements supporting renewal and responses. The interview themes are in line with our aim to investigate various disruptive forces and response strategies broadly, without focusing on single sources of disruptions and their effects.

The data were initially analysed independently by three researchers using descriptive and simultaneous coding methods (Saldaña, 2009). After the initial coding, the researchers used the pattern coding method (Saldaña, 2009) to reveal patterns in the codes. During data collection and analysis the researchers wrote analytic memos with a view to fostering reflection about the data and synthesizing data into higher-level analytic meanings (Miles et al., 2014). In the analysis phase, we focused on two main areas. First, what kind of disruptions do the top managers foresee to influence their industry. We identified a number of sources of disruption from the data and categorized them into four groups (Figure 1). The categorization was influenced by extant theory on disruptions (Table 1) as our empirical findings supported them to a large extent. To achieve a good fit with our data, we combined some disruption types from the literature and named them appropriately. Our second focus area concerned how managers acknowledged sources of disruptions in their strategic choices. Likewise, we sought insights from existing theory, including Table 2, and formulated eight response strategies (Figure 2). We further identified that some of the strategies resembled each other in that they addressed specific strategic issues such as ecosystems and stance on new entrants in an industry. We revisited the literature and found that the distinction between exploitation and exploitation, introduced by March (1991), provided a way to classify the strategies into two groups based on whether they rely on exploiting existing strengths or exploring new opportunities. Consequently, we arranged the strategies as four exploitation–exploration pairs, where each pair depicted two alternative approaches to a disruption-related strategic issue.


Christopher K. Germer | Insight Journal | Barre Center for Buddhist Studies: Mindfulness in Buddhism & Psychology

Christopher K. Germer, PhD is a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He is the author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy.

He taught Training Compassion: From the Buddha to Modern Psychology, with Mu Soeng, at BCBS September 7-9, 2012.

Insight Journal asked Germer to talk about some key aspects of the growing overlap of Buddhist ideas and practices with Western psychotherapy.

Insight Journal: Western psychology has had a couple of decades now, at least, in which the insights into human psychology in Buddhism have had a significant and broadening impact. Just how great has that impact been? Are there still doubters who think this is a fad of some kind that will pass?

Christopher Germer: There will always be doubters but they seem to be disappearing fast. In our culture, for better or worse, the scientific method is a major arbiter of “truth” and the sheer volume of psychological research is growing fast. For example, in 2005 there were only about 350 peer-reviewed articles on “mindfulness” in the psychological literature and now that number is almost 1800. Mindfulness, considered the heart of Buddhist psychology, has been integrated into every school of psychotherapy and has become a major treatment paradigm in its own right, with proven effectiveness for treating depression, anxiety, irritable bowel, chronic pain, smoking, insomnia, hot flashes and many other conditions. The military even conducts mindfulness-based “mental fitness” programs to reduce the incidence of post-traumatic stress.

The use of neuroimaging—objective measures of how the brain changes through mind training—has helped to remove doubts about the effectiveness of Buddhist meditation. In the future, imaging will probably be used clinically to identify maladaptive brain patterns associated with mental illness, and when that happens, techniques such as meditation will be tapped to alter how the brain functions. I believe that interest in Buddhist ideas and practices will only grow over the coming decades.

Positive psychology, which focuses on human flourishing rather than mental illness, is also learning a lot from Buddhism, particularly how mindfulness and compassion can enhance wellbeing. This has been the domain of Buddhism for the past two millennia and we’re just adding a scientific perspective.

I think modern psychology has just begun to scratch the surface of Buddhist psychology. Mindfulness was a fledgling science in 1985 and now it’s mainstream, but new vistas are emerging. For example, as social scientists and psychotherapists deepen their understanding of Buddhist psychology, they’re developing the new science of compassion, the science of wisdom, exploring the impact of refined states of consciousness on the brain and behavior, investigating the health benefits of ethical, pro-social behavior, and they’re developing a range of innovative treatment strategies for hard-to-treat mental conditions.

IJ:Do you worry that important parts of the Dhamma are being lost in translation, if you will, as they are applied in as part of a broader therapeutic approach?

CG: Probably not as much as I should. Thanks to Jon Kabat-Zinn and the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, therapists understand the importance of personal practice. That opens the door to new and interesting aspects of the Dhamma. However, we need to accept that most therapists will only skim the surface of the Dhamma. Even in Buddhist countries like Thailand, only a small minority of the population has the time or interest to meditate or read Buddhist texts.

I think the Dhamma is beneficial to people to whatever extent they’re willing to engage it. For example, there’s no harm in learning mindful walking or mindful eating and teaching it to others, and the power of these simple practices often triggers curiosity and leads to further inquiry and practice. We all have to start somewhere.

The notion of “insight”—insight into suffering, impermanence, and no-self—are still seldom discussed in clinical circles. Over the years, I suspect that more and more therapists will experience the transformative potential of insight when they go on retreats and bring that knowledge back into the professional conversation. Some colleagues are already taking a deep plunge such as Boston psychotherapists Bill and Susan Morgan who are on a three-year retreat at the Forest Refuge. The experience of insight is a valuable asset to therapists. For example, the insight that the severity of our suffering depends largely on our attitude toward it provides hope and emotional freedom in the midst of seemingly unbearable suffering.

IJ:What are the most important insights for Western mental health professionals to understand to put it another way, which of these insights most radically transforms what the Western psychological tradition has taken as given?

CG: I think the insight I just mentioned is very important—our relationship to emotional pain is a key factor in how much we suffer. For example, the latest wave of cognitive behavior therapy understands that trying to directly change our thoughts is less effective than creating a wide, openhearted space for our experience—a less resistant, less avoidant relationship to our thoughts and feelings. This view is expressed in the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy maxim: “Thoughts are thoughts, not facts.” Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is also embracing the notion that shifting our relationship to childhood experience is more important than remembering all the details.

Another insight is the importance of intention. Until now, scientific psychology has been primarily concerned with thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Since the advent of mindfulness and acceptance-based therapy, we’re noticing that progress in therapy can be measured by a shift in intention—moving from resistance and aversion to acceptance. Everyone who comes to therapy is resisting emotional pain, perhaps anxiety or depression. As psychologist Steven Hayes says, “Control is the problem, not the solution.” The path toward acceptance in therapy seems to occur in stages: (1) curiosity, (2) tolerance, (3) willingness, and finally (4) friendship. Full acceptance, or the ability to embrace the pain in our lives, may seem like a tall order, especially when a person is panicking or overwhelmed with grief, but getting there is the art of psychotherapy.

Yet another contribution of Buddhism to western psychology is that capacities such as attention, compassion and empathy are skills that can be learned, rather than simply a product of good genes or a fortunate childhood. Believe it or not, this is a new understanding. Sigmund Freud recommended “evenly hovering attention” as the optimal state of mind for an analyst, but he didn’t offer any suggestions for how to achieve that frame of mind (besides a personal analysis). Now we know that the skills of mindfulness meditation—focused awareness, open monitoring, and loving-kindness—can be practiced on the cushion and even during the therapy hour itself. The latter practice—relational mindfulness—is a relatively new interest for both American Buddhists and psychotherapists.

A fascinating new field of psychology that is co-emerging with Buddhist psychology in the West is “social neuroscience” or “interpersonal neurobiology.” Social neuroscience explores how human interactions shape our brains, and researchers such as Dan Siegel at UCLA have discovered that emotionally attuned interactions activate similar brain areas as mindfulness and compassion meditation. Therefore, our ability to pay attention with empathy and compassion can be developed when we sit in solitary meditation skills that are essential to a therapeutic relationship and effective treatment in general. Graduate programs in clinical and counseling psychology around the country are starting to recommend and teach mindfulness meditation to their students.

Mindfulness is also being taught to clinicians for self-care and to alleviate compassion fatigue. Traditionally, self-care involves taking time off from work to recharge one’s batteries, but this approach doesn’t teach therapists to thrive during stressful situations themselves. Self-care keeps caregivers from drowning, as physician Michael Kearney suggests, but self-care with mindfulness is like “learning to breathe under water.” Compassion training, especially self-compassion, is also a protection against compassion fatigue. As neuroscientist Tanya Singer suggests, compassion fatigue is really “empathy fatigue.” Compassion is a positive attitude—closely related to loving-kindness—and is more energizing than depleting. Empathy alone, without the warmth of compassion, can be truly exhausting.

These are just a few ways that Buddhist theory and practice are affecting mental health care. The meeting of Buddhist and modern psychology is like a rising tide that is lifting a lot of boats.

IJ:Where would you say Western psychology is on the timeline of its evolution? If we use the metaphor of a human life, is it an infant, in grade school, adolescence, adult?

CG: I’d say grade school. I met a retired diplomat in India who accompanied Carl Jung on his first visit to Benares, and he quoted Carl Jung as saying that “compared to India, western psychology is in its infancy.” In the early 1900’s, William James at Harvard University said that everyone would be studying Buddhist psychology in about 25 years. That time has finally come, almost a century later. Mostly in the last 10 years, we’re witnessing a remarkable convergence of the ancient, introspective wisdom of the East with western, objective scientific psychology, yielding a more comprehensive understanding of the human psyche. Neuroimaging helps a lot to validate contemplative practice—now we can even measure changes in the connective tissue of the brain with 11 hours of meditation. I think we’ll go even further when we have the technology to measure energy in the body—chi. And neurofeedback—knowing when we’re generating beneficial brain patterns in meditation—may shorten the time we need to match our brain states to those of advanced meditators. I doubt that these scientific advances will ever replace the need for insight into the nature of the mind and abiding self-mastery, but recent discoveries in clinical and neuroscience are inspiring people throughout the world to take to the path of inner transformation. I recently visited Korea and China, and found that psychology colleagues (and monastics in Korea) were thrilled to see their ancient wisdom corroborated by modern science. That can only be a good thing for global evolution.

IJ:Looking at this from the other side, what are the most important findings of Western psychology that those of us trying to learn and practice Buddhism should know about? I’m thinking, for example, of the idea that meditation practice can be very helpful, but it can also provide a means of avoiding psychological issues that should be surfaced and dealt with.

CG: I see contemplative practice and psychotherapy as twin paths to emotional healing. It’s true that meditation can be misused as an emotional bypass, but usually not forever. Our unresolved conflicts slip into our lives sooner or later, either on the cushion or in relational conflict. Most emotional suffering originated in relationships and healing relationships can go a long way toward alleviating it. Therefore, therapy is often a useful adjunct to meditative practice, especially if the therapist shares a common model of how suffering is created and alleviated.

As adults, though, the days are long gone when other people can provide all our emotional needs—not the best therapist, the perfect spouse, a loving parent, or the ideal friend can satisfy our adult need for connection and validation. Practicing loving-kindness meditation, especially for ourselves, is an important vehicle for giving ourselves the affection we may not have received in childhood or yearn to receive in our daily lives. I believe my wife would agree that I require less maintenance since I stated practicing mettā meditation, and I feel a lot happier, too.

I think that Western psychologists are helping to put Buddhist ideas into modern language and concepts, which may help dharma teachers and meditators in their practices. Psychologists actively trying to figure out what works in mindfulness meditation—the mechanisms of action—and for whom. For example, they are exploring in great detail the different kinds of attention (focused attention, open monitoring) and qualities of attention (compassion, loving-kindness) from neurological, physiological, and cognitive perspectives. We’ve recently discovered that focused attention practice is probably more effective than loving-kindness to disengage from obsessional thinking. When the Dalai Lama is asked what meditation is good for what problem, he often says that we need “more research.” It may be cheeky to say this, but I believe a new Abhidhamma is currently being written by these very discerning scientist-practitioners who are teasing out the different elements of Buddhist theory and practice.

IJ:Are there specific Buddhist texts that speak to you more than others, as a mental health professional? Do you find there is consensus about these among you and other professionals who are familiar with the texts?

CG: I’d say the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta and the Ānāpānasati Sutta get top honors among my colleagues. I’m also inspired by the Bodhicaryavatara, or The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva. However, most mental health professionals derive their inspiration from meditation practice and commentaries by meditation teachers rather than texts. This is a gap that BCBS is uniquely positioned and actively engaged in filling. For example, Andy Olendzki has very popular courses on early Buddhist psychology and the Abhidhamma that offer continuing education credit to therapists.

IJ:How do you see the role of self-compassion, both in terms of Buddhism and Western psychology?

CG: Some Buddhist practitioners worry that the notion of “self”-compassion subtly reifies the self and leads to greater suffering. I think that’s true when our suffering is rather mild, but when our sense of self is engulfed in intense and disturbing emotions, such as grief, shame or despair, we need to rescue the observer—the experiencer—before we can pay attention to our experience. Giving ourselves the same warmth and kindness that we’d give to a loved one reduces our mental chatter, opens our awareness, reconnects us with others and the world.

Over the past eight years, a considerable body of research has shown that self-compassion is a core mechanism of emotional healing. It’s the implicit attitude of mindfulness, but it helps to explicitly practice self-compassion when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. For example, when we’re meditating and there is no comfort in paying attention to the breath or body sensation, we can simply put our hands over the heart and feel the warmth of our hands, the gentle pressure of the hands on the chest, and the rhythmic movement of the breath under our hands. That simple act reminds us that we’re not only paying attention, but we’re paying loving attention, to our moment-to-moment experience.

Self-compassion is often the only way that people can stop beating up on themselves (and fighting their experience) when things go wrong in their lives. Personally, I had debilitating public speaking anxiety for decades and mettā meditation finally gave me the strength to just be anxious during a speech and let the anxiety play itself out. The practice of loving-kindness meditation is currently a hot research topic and it’s the core practice in the eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion training program that Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, and I have been developing and researching for the past two years.

IJ:How would helping others, as opposed to helping oneself, be seen as a therapeutic tool, in both contexts? Would it be seen similarly in both, or differently?

CG: There is a growing literature in positive psychology on the psychological benefits of compassion for others, gratitude and other “pro-social” emotions. I asked a pioneer in the field, Christopher Peterson, to sum up positive psychology in a few words, and he said, “other people.” Just like the bodhisattva vow, attending to the welfare of others is a prescription for happiness. It liberates us from the illusory prison of individuality. Both Buddhism and positive psychology are on the same page in regard to compassion for others.

In clinical practice, however, self-compassion is usually the starting point and is a more effective way of alleviating suffering. Once we have rediscovered the loveliness in ourselves, then we can see the loveliness in others. It’s impossible to embrace others when we notice and reject qualities in others that we despise in ourselves. The Dalai Lama echoed this view when he said:

“For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others, first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion, and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare…Caring for others requires caring for oneself.”

Ironically, in 2012, self-compassion can no longer be assumed. People don’t necessarily know how to be kind or compassionate toward themselves. Especially when we experience overwhelming emotional pain, most of us kick in negative core beliefs such as “I’m unlovable,” “I’m stupid,” and “I’m defective.” So the path to loving ourselves is often through others. A new research study has shown this as well. In loving-kindness meditation, we learn to evoke loving states of mind by first thinking of a living being who naturally makes us smile, such as a dear dog or cat, and then we tuck ourselves into that circle of compassion. “May you and I be safe and free from suffering.”

Practicing compassion for others, including altruistic action, occurs naturally when we feel more comfortable in our own skin. Historically speaking, this has been the starting point of most Buddhist practice—ordinary unhappiness, but we basically like ourselves—and then we progress toward to the abode of the gods, the Brahmaviharas.


Mindfulness in Buddhism & Psychology

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Christopher K. Germer, PhD is a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He is the author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy.

He taught Training Compassion: From the Buddha to Modern Psychology, with Mu Soeng, at BCBS September 7-9, 2012.

Insight Journal asked Germer to talk about some key aspects of the growing overlap of Buddhist ideas and practices with Western psychotherapy.

Insight Journal: Western psychology has had a couple of decades now, at least, in which the insights into human psychology in Buddhism have had a significant and broadening impact. Just how great has that impact been? Are there still doubters who think this is a fad of some kind that will pass?

Christopher Germer: There will always be doubters but they seem to be disappearing fast. In our culture, for better or worse, the scientific method is a major arbiter of “truth” and the sheer volume of psychological research is growing fast. For example, in 2005 there were only about 350 peer-reviewed articles on “mindfulness” in the psychological literature and now that number is almost 1800. Mindfulness, considered the heart of Buddhist psychology, has been integrated into every school of psychotherapy and has become a major treatment paradigm in its own right, with proven effectiveness for treating depression, anxiety, irritable bowel, chronic pain, smoking, insomnia, hot flashes and many other conditions. The military even conducts mindfulness-based “mental fitness” programs to reduce the incidence of post-traumatic stress.

The use of neuroimaging—objective measures of how the brain changes through mind training—has helped to remove doubts about the effectiveness of Buddhist meditation. In the future, imaging will probably be used clinically to identify maladaptive brain patterns associated with mental illness, and when that happens, techniques such as meditation will be tapped to alter how the brain functions. I believe that interest in Buddhist ideas and practices will only grow over the coming decades.

Positive psychology, which focuses on human flourishing rather than mental illness, is also learning a lot from Buddhism, particularly how mindfulness and compassion can enhance wellbeing. This has been the domain of Buddhism for the past two millennia and we’re just adding a scientific perspective.

I think modern psychology has just begun to scratch the surface of Buddhist psychology. Mindfulness was a fledgling science in 1985 and now it’s mainstream, but new vistas are emerging. For example, as social scientists and psychotherapists deepen their understanding of Buddhist psychology, they’re developing the new science of compassion, the science of wisdom, exploring the impact of refined states of consciousness on the brain and behavior, investigating the health benefits of ethical, pro-social behavior, and they’re developing a range of innovative treatment strategies for hard-to-treat mental conditions.

IJ:Do you worry that important parts of the Dhamma are being lost in translation, if you will, as they are applied in as part of a broader therapeutic approach?

CG: Probably not as much as I should. Thanks to Jon Kabat-Zinn and the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, therapists understand the importance of personal practice. That opens the door to new and interesting aspects of the Dhamma. However, we need to accept that most therapists will only skim the surface of the Dhamma. Even in Buddhist countries like Thailand, only a small minority of the population has the time or interest to meditate or read Buddhist texts.

I think the Dhamma is beneficial to people to whatever extent they’re willing to engage it. For example, there’s no harm in learning mindful walking or mindful eating and teaching it to others, and the power of these simple practices often triggers curiosity and leads to further inquiry and practice. We all have to start somewhere.

The notion of “insight”—insight into suffering, impermanence, and no-self—are still seldom discussed in clinical circles. Over the years, I suspect that more and more therapists will experience the transformative potential of insight when they go on retreats and bring that knowledge back into the professional conversation. Some colleagues are already taking a deep plunge such as Boston psychotherapists Bill and Susan Morgan who are on a three-year retreat at the Forest Refuge. The experience of insight is a valuable asset to therapists. For example, the insight that the severity of our suffering depends largely on our attitude toward it provides hope and emotional freedom in the midst of seemingly unbearable suffering.
IJ:What are the most important insights for Western mental health professionals to understand to put it another way, which of these insights most radically transforms what the Western psychological tradition has taken as given?

CG: I think the insight I just mentioned is very important—our relationship to emotional pain is a key factor in how much we suffer. For example, the latest wave of cognitive behavior therapy understands that trying to directly change our thoughts is less effective than creating a wide, openhearted space for our experience—a less resistant, less avoidant relationship to our thoughts and feelings. This view is expressed in the mindfulness-based cognitive therapy maxim: “Thoughts are thoughts, not facts.” Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is also embracing the notion that shifting our relationship to childhood experience is more important than remembering all the details.

Another insight is the importance of intention. Until now, scientific psychology has been primarily concerned with thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Since the advent of mindfulness and acceptance-based therapy, we’re noticing that progress in therapy can be measured by a shift in intention—moving from resistance and aversion to acceptance. Everyone who comes to therapy is resisting emotional pain, perhaps anxiety or depression. As psychologist Steven Hayes says, “Control is the problem, not the solution.” The path toward acceptance in therapy seems to occur in stages: (1) curiosity, (2) tolerance, (3) willingness, and finally (4) friendship. Full acceptance, or the ability to embrace the pain in our lives, may seem like a tall order, especially when a person is panicking or overwhelmed with grief, but getting there is the art of psychotherapy.

Yet another contribution of Buddhism to western psychology is that capacities such as attention, compassion and empathy are skills that can be learned, rather than simply a product of good genes or a fortunate childhood. Believe it or not, this is a new understanding. Sigmund Freud recommended “evenly hovering attention” as the optimal state of mind for an analyst, but he didn’t offer any suggestions for how to achieve that frame of mind (besides a personal analysis). Now we know that the skills of mindfulness meditation—focused awareness, open monitoring, and loving-kindness—can be practiced on the cushion and even during the therapy hour itself. The latter practice—relational mindfulness—is a relatively new interest for both American Buddhists and psychotherapists.

A fascinating new field of psychology that is co-emerging with Buddhist psychology in the West is “social neuroscience” or “interpersonal neurobiology.” Social neuroscience explores how human interactions shape our brains, and researchers such as Dan Siegel at UCLA have discovered that emotionally attuned interactions activate similar brain areas as mindfulness and compassion meditation. Therefore, our ability to pay attention with empathy and compassion can be developed when we sit in solitary meditation skills that are essential to a therapeutic relationship and effective treatment in general. Graduate programs in clinical and counseling psychology around the country are starting to recommend and teach mindfulness meditation to their students.

Mindfulness is also being taught to clinicians for self-care and to alleviate compassion fatigue. Traditionally, self-care involves taking time off from work to recharge one’s batteries, but this approach doesn’t teach therapists to thrive during stressful situations themselves. Self-care keeps caregivers from drowning, as physician Michael Kearney suggests, but self-care with mindfulness is like “learning to breathe under water.” Compassion training, especially self-compassion, is also a protection against compassion fatigue. As neuroscientist Tanya Singer suggests, compassion fatigue is really “empathy fatigue.” Compassion is a positive attitude—closely related to loving-kindness—and is more energizing than depleting. Empathy alone, without the warmth of compassion, can be truly exhausting.

These are just a few ways that Buddhist theory and practice are affecting mental health care. The meeting of Buddhist and modern psychology is like a rising tide that is lifting a lot of boats.

IJ:Where would you say Western psychology is on the timeline of its evolution? If we use the metaphor of a human life, is it an infant, in grade school, adolescence, adult?

CG: I’d say grade school. I met a retired diplomat in India who accompanied Carl Jung on his first visit to Benares, and he quoted Carl Jung as saying that “compared to India, western psychology is in its infancy.” In the early 1900’s, William James at Harvard University said that everyone would be studying Buddhist psychology in about 25 years. That time has finally come, almost a century later. Mostly in the last 10 years, we’re witnessing a remarkable convergence of the ancient, introspective wisdom of the East with western, objective scientific psychology, yielding a more comprehensive understanding of the human psyche. Neuroimaging helps a lot to validate contemplative practice—now we can even measure changes in the connective tissue of the brain with 11 hours of meditation. I think we’ll go even further when we have the technology to measure energy in the body—chi. And neurofeedback—knowing when we’re generating beneficial brain patterns in meditation—may shorten the time we need to match our brain states to those of advanced meditators. I doubt that these scientific advances will ever replace the need for insight into the nature of the mind and abiding self-mastery, but recent discoveries in clinical and neuroscience are inspiring people throughout the world to take to the path of inner transformation. I recently visited Korea and China, and found that psychology colleagues (and monastics in Korea) were thrilled to see their ancient wisdom corroborated by modern science. That can only be a good thing for global evolution.

IJ:Looking at this from the other side, what are the most important findings of Western psychology that those of us trying to learn and practice Buddhism should know about? I’m thinking, for example, of the idea that meditation practice can be very helpful, but it can also provide a means of avoiding psychological issues that should be surfaced and dealt with.

CG: I see contemplative practice and psychotherapy as twin paths to emotional healing. It’s true that meditation can be misused as an emotional bypass, but usually not forever. Our unresolved conflicts slip into our lives sooner or later, either on the cushion or in relational conflict. Most emotional suffering originated in relationships and healing relationships can go a long way toward alleviating it. Therefore, therapy is often a useful adjunct to meditative practice, especially if the therapist shares a common model of how suffering is created and alleviated.

As adults, though, the days are long gone when other people can provide all our emotional needs—not the best therapist, the perfect spouse, a loving parent, or the ideal friend can satisfy our adult need for connection and validation. Practicing loving-kindness meditation, especially for ourselves, is an important vehicle for giving ourselves the affection we may not have received in childhood or yearn to receive in our daily lives. I believe my wife would agree that I require less maintenance since I stated practicing mettā meditation, and I feel a lot happier, too.

I think that Western psychologists are helping to put Buddhist ideas into modern language and concepts, which may help dharma teachers and meditators in their practices. Psychologists actively trying to figure out what works in mindfulness meditation—the mechanisms of action—and for whom. For example, they are exploring in great detail the different kinds of attention (focused attention, open monitoring) and qualities of attention (compassion, loving-kindness) from neurological, physiological, and cognitive perspectives. We’ve recently discovered that focused attention practice is probably more effective than loving-kindness to disengage from obsessional thinking. When the Dalai Lama is asked what meditation is good for what problem, he often says that we need “more research.” It may be cheeky to say this, but I believe a new Abhidhamma is currently being written by these very discerning scientist-practitioners who are teasing out the different elements of Buddhist theory and practice.

IJ:Are there specific Buddhist texts that speak to you more than others, as a mental health professional? Do you find there is consensus about these among you and other professionals who are familiar with the texts?

CG: I’d say the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta and the Ānāpānasati Sutta get top honors among my colleagues. I’m also inspired by the Bodhicaryavatara, or The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva. However, most mental health professionals derive their inspiration from meditation practice and commentaries by meditation teachers rather than texts. This is a gap that BCBS is uniquely positioned and actively engaged in filling. For example, Andy Olendzki has very popular courses on early Buddhist psychology and the Abhidhamma that offer continuing education credit to therapists.

IJ:How do you see the role of self-compassion, both in terms of Buddhism and Western psychology?

CG: Some Buddhist practitioners worry that the notion of “self”-compassion subtly reifies the self and leads to greater suffering. I think that’s true when our suffering is rather mild, but when our sense of self is engulfed in intense and disturbing emotions, such as grief, shame or despair, we need to rescue the observer—the experiencer—before we can pay attention to our experience. Giving ourselves the same warmth and kindness that we’d give to a loved one reduces our mental chatter, opens our awareness, reconnects us with others and the world.

Over the past eight years, a considerable body of research has shown that self-compassion is a core mechanism of emotional healing. It’s the implicit attitude of mindfulness, but it helps to explicitly practice self-compassion when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. For example, when we’re meditating and there is no comfort in paying attention to the breath or body sensation, we can simply put our hands over the heart and feel the warmth of our hands, the gentle pressure of the hands on the chest, and the rhythmic movement of the breath under our hands. That simple act reminds us that we’re not only paying attention, but we’re paying loving attention, to our moment-to-moment experience.

Self-compassion is often the only way that people can stop beating up on themselves (and fighting their experience) when things go wrong in their lives. Personally, I had debilitating public speaking anxiety for decades and mettā meditation finally gave me the strength to just be anxious during a speech and let the anxiety play itself out. The practice of loving-kindness meditation is currently a hot research topic and it’s the core practice in the eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion training program that Kristin Neff, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, and I have been developing and researching for the past two years.

IJ:How would helping others, as opposed to helping oneself, be seen as a therapeutic tool, in both contexts? Would it be seen similarly in both, or differently?

CG: There is a growing literature in positive psychology on the psychological benefits of compassion for others, gratitude and other “pro-social” emotions. I asked a pioneer in the field, Christopher Peterson, to sum up positive psychology in a few words, and he said, “other people.” Just like the bodhisattva vow, attending to the welfare of others is a prescription for happiness. It liberates us from the illusory prison of individuality. Both Buddhism and positive psychology are on the same page in regard to compassion for others.

In clinical practice, however, self-compassion is usually the starting point and is a more effective way of alleviating suffering. Once we have rediscovered the loveliness in ourselves, then we can see the loveliness in others. It’s impossible to embrace others when we notice and reject qualities in others that we despise in ourselves. The Dalai Lama echoed this view when he said:

“For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others, first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion, and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare…Caring for others requires caring for oneself.”

Ironically, in 2012, self-compassion can no longer be assumed. People don’t necessarily know how to be kind or compassionate toward themselves. Especially when we experience overwhelming emotional pain, most of us kick in negative core beliefs such as “I’m unlovable,” “I’m stupid,” and “I’m defective.” So the path to loving ourselves is often through others. A new research study has shown this as well. In loving-kindness meditation, we learn to evoke loving states of mind by first thinking of a living being who naturally makes us smile, such as a dear dog or cat, and then we tuck ourselves into that circle of compassion. “May you and I be safe and free from suffering.”

Practicing compassion for others, including altruistic action, occurs naturally when we feel more comfortable in our own skin. Historically speaking, this has been the starting point of most Buddhist practice—ordinary unhappiness, but we basically like ourselves—and then we progress toward to the abode of the gods, the Brahmaviharas.

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Bias and Interracial Interaction

An important implication of the aversive racism framework is that the dissociation between the positive conscious (explicit) attitudes and negative unconscious (implicit) attitudes of aversive racists fundamentally influences the ways Whites interact with Blacks. Considerable past research has shown that implicit and explicit attitudes influence behavior in different ways and under different conditions (see Dovidio, Kawakami, & Gaertner, 2002b Dovidio, Kawakami, Johnson, Johnson, & Howard, 1997b Dovidio, Kawakami, Smoak, & Gaertner, 2009 Fazio, Jackson, Dunton, & Williams, 1995 Fazio & Olson, 2003 Wilson, Lindsey, & Schooler, 2000 ). Whereas explicit attitudes typically shape deliberative, well-considered responses for which people have the motivation and opportunity to weigh the costs and benefits of various courses of action, implicit attitudes typically influence responses that are more difficult to monitor or control (e.g., some nonverbal behaviors see Chen & Bargh, 1997 McConnell & Leibold, 2001 ) or responses that people do not view as diagnostic of their attitude and thus do not try to control.

For instance, Dovidio et al. (1997b) found that Whites’ negative implicit attitudes predict nonverbal cues of discomfort (increased rate of blinking) and aversion (decreased eye contact) toward Blacks (see also Word, Zanna, & Cooper, 1974 ), whereas Whites self-reported, explicit attitudes predict open evaluations and liking of Blacks. Aversive racists, who have favorable conscious views of Blacks but also harbor unconscious negative attitudes or associations (see Karpinski & Hilton, 2001 ), are, thus, likely to convey mixed-messages in interracial interactions.

Biases in interpersonal relations. One fundamental implication of these processes is that Whites and Blacks are likely to form very different perceptions of race relations, with Blacks developing a general sense of distrust of Whites ( Dovidio, Gaertner, Kawakami, & Hodson, 2002a ). In particular, Whites’ perceptions about how they are behaving or how they are perceived by others are based more on their explicit attitudes and overt behaviors, such as the verbal content of their interaction with Blacks, and less on their implicit attitudes or less deliberative behaviors. In contrast, the perspective of Black interaction partners in these interracial interactions allows them to attend to both the spontaneous (e.g., nonverbal) and deliberative (e.g., verbal) behaviors of Whites. To the extent that the Black partners attend to Whites’ nonverbal behaviors, which may signal more negativity than their verbal behaviors, Blacks are likely to form more negative impressions of their partners and be less satisfied with the interaction compared with Whites.

Research on egocentric biases in social perception suggests a basic social psychological mechanism for the formation and maintenance of the differing perspectives of Blacks and Whites in social interactions. Because people often have greater access to their own internal mental states (e.g., motivations, intentions) than the mental states of others, they often utilize and weigh introspective information more heavily when making self-judgments than when making judgments of others (‘introspection illusion’ see Pronin, 2009 ). In part because of the prominence of one's own mental states, within social interactions actors often fail to recognize that their internal states are not readily visible to their partners, who instead base their interpersonal judgments more on the behaviors of the individuals they are interacting with. Consistent with this reasoning, Dovidio, Kawakami, and Gaertner (2002b ) found direct evidence of Blacks’ and Whites’ divergent perspectives in intergroup interactions based on access to different sources of information (e.g., verbal versus nonverbal behavior). White participants, whose implicit and explicit racial attitudes were previously assessed, engaged in separate videotaped conversations with a White and a Black partner that were race-neutral in content. Supportive of hypotheses derived from the aversive racism framework, Blacks’ perceptions of their White partners’ friendliness were predicted by assessments of Whites’ nonverbal (but not verbal) behavior and their partner's implicit (but not explicit) racial attitudes. In contrast, consistent with an introspective bias, White participants’ judgments of their own friendliness were associated with their explicit (but not implicit) attitudes toward Blacks and were predicted by independent raters’ assessments of their verbal friendliness. Thus, because of their very different perspectives and reliance on different information (verbal versus nonverbal behavior), Whites and Blacks left the same interaction with very different impressions.

Other studies further suggest that the nonverbal behaviors emitted by the White participants in interpersonal contexts, which may be exacerbated by concerns about appearing racist ( Goff, Steele, & Davies, 2008 ), may primarily reflect underlying negative affective responses that are often automatic and difficult to control ( Amodio, Harmon-Jones, & Devine, 2003 Dovidio et al., 1997 ). To the extent that Blacks attribute the subtle nonverbal avoidant behaviors of Whites to explicit, rather than implicit, prejudice, they may misperceive these behaviors as intentional. Results of recent studies suggest that such an attribution may influence Blacks’ affective experiences in a way that produces a self-fulfilling prophecy. Shelton, Richeson, and Salvatore (2005 ) found that the more ethnic minorities expected to be the target of prejudice, the more negative affect they experienced during the interracial interaction, even when engaging in more positive compensatory behaviors to avoid rejection by their partner. These negative perceptions and experiences can fuel tensions in social interactions and lessen Blacks’ and Whites’ interests in initiating and sustaining cross-group contact ( Pearson et al., 2008 ). In addition, perceptions of bias in one's partner can reinforce the common belief that members of other racial and ethnic groups are generally less interested in engaging intergroup contact than are members of one's own racial or ethnic group ( Shelton & Richeson, 2005 ). Together, these findings suggest that the subtle and complex nature of contemporary prejudice can shape the everyday perceptions of White and Black Americans in ways that interfere with interpersonal trust and communication that are critical to establishing positive and effective cross-group interactions.

Biases and team performance. Besides shaping different impressions and perceptions, contemporary biases can also influence interpersonal relations in ways that unintentionally but adversely affect the performance of Whites and racial and ethnic minorities working in teams. To the extent explicit bias may impact perceptions of friendliness and support, overt biases may be expected to directly impact group productivity. To the extent that implicit racial attitudes may be detected through more subtle behaviors, these unconscious biases may erode trust between group members and indirectly hinder team performance.

To test this reasoning, Dovidio (2001 ) examined the interpersonal impressions and performance of Blacks who interacted with non-prejudiced Whites (i.e., those low in both explicit and implicit prejudice), prejudiced Whites (i.e., those high in both explicit and implicit prejudice), and White aversive racists (low in explicit prejudice but high in implicit prejudice) on a joint problem-solving task. The results for perceptions of friendliness were comparable to those of Dovidio et al. (2002b) . Whites who scored low in explicit prejudice (i.e., non-prejudiced Whites and aversive racists) reported that they behaved more friendly than those who scored high in prejudice (overtly prejudiced Whites). However, Black participants showed sensitivity to both their partners’ explicit and implicit attitudes: They perceived Whites who were unbiased on the implicit measure (non-prejudiced Whites) to be more friendly than those who showed implicit biases (aversive racists and prejudiced Whites). They were also less trustful of aversive racists and overtly prejudiced Whites than of non-prejudiced Whites. Results of the groups’ efficiency in problem-solving showed a similar pattern. Interracial teams consisting of a Black participant and a non-prejudiced White participant performed the best, interracial teams with an overtly prejudiced White participant were the next most efficient group, and those with a White aversive racist performed the worst. Presumably, the conflicting messages displayed by aversive racists ( Dovidio et al., 2002 ) and the divergent impressions of the team members’ interaction reduced the overall effectiveness of the team.

These results suggest that, to the extent Blacks are a racial minority in an organization and are often dependent on high-prejudiced Whites or aversive racists for work-related tasks, their performance is likely to be objectively poorer than the performance of the majority of their White counterparts who primarily work with other Whites. Thus, within the workplace, even unconscious and unintentional biases can have consequences that may be detrimental to the job performance and, ultimately, the well-being of racial and ethnic minorities, and the success of professional organizations more broadly. Indeed, in a recent national survey of 1,700 corporate managers and professionals, subtle bias among coworkers was cited as a leading reason for job change and voluntary layoff, particularly among people of color, affecting an estimated 2 million workers in the United States annually at an estimated cost of $64 billion in wages ( Corporate Leavers Survey, 2007 ). Among those who reported experiencing bias at work, nearly one third (27%) indicated that their experience strongly discouraged them from recommending their employer to prospective employees, and 13% reported that their experience discouraged them from recommending their employer's products or services to potential clients. The report concluded that, ‘overt and illegal discrimination is no longer the largest threat to recruiting and retaining the “best and the brightest.” Unfairness, in the form of every-day inappropriate behaviors . is a very real, prevalent and damaging part of the work environment’ (p. 2, Executive Summary).


Health Care Complaints: A Resource for Improving Quality and Safety

A health care complaint is a formal communication reporting a failure in service provision that seeks an institutional response (eg, explanation, investigation, apology, change of procedure). Complainants include patients, their family and friends, and concerned professionals. Internationally and across services, there are between 1 and 9 health care complaints per 1,000 admissions. 2, 5-7 Complaints occur when a threshold of dissatisfaction has been breached, 8 with dominant motivations being to correct an ongoing problem or prevent recurrence. 9-11 Complainants purport to have valid information that the institution does not know or has failed to take sufficiently seriously. People often refrain from complaining because it is effortful, time-consuming, and sometimes perceived as futile. 12, 13 Therefore, complaints may overrepresent the concerns of motivated individuals and events that complainants believe are being ignored.

Research on health care complaints has focused on complaint handling, 14 complaint resolution, 15 physician behavior, 16 high-risk clinicians, 17 malpractice claims, 18 and emotional impact on clinicians. 19 Yet, research increasingly suggests that patient experience reflects the quality of care. 20 Complaints, for example, are usually upheld, 21 often contain adverse-event information, 22 have been identified as early warning signals in post-hoc investigations, 23 and are associated with surgical complications, 2, 24 adverse events, 25 and physician malpractice. 26 The debate, we suggest, is no longer whether complaints contain useful information but how valid insights can be reliably extracted. 27

Health care complaints can provide an independent check on quality and safety monitoring methodologies that rely on staff self-report. Although reporting adverse events, 28 recording near misses, 29 measuring safety culture, 30 and evaluating interventions 31 offer useful data, inconsistent reporting means these data are often incomplete. Data omissions are attributable to incidents not being perceived or being perceived differently, reporting criteria not being understood, and staff being unwilling to report because of time constraints, poor systems, or concerns over professional consequences. 31-35 Moreover, it is somewhat paradoxical to rely on staff embedded within a culture to self-report on that culture because the culture itself shapes the practices of reporting. 36, 37

Health care complaints contain data that are difficult to obtain from other sources. They report on the complete patient experience (from before admission until after discharge), covering both micro and macro issues, and focusing attention on issues proximal to patients. Specifically, patients have insight on issues such as continuity of care problems, 38 low-level systemic problems, 39 and unfinished or omitted care. 40 In support of this view, research has found that complaints provide unique data that are additional to patient notes 32, 41 and incident-reporting systems. 22

In summary, health care complaints potentially provide valid, independent, and distinctive data for improving quality and safety. However, utilizing complaint data has been hampered by uncertainty in how to extract actionable insights.


Combating Aversive Racism

Prejudice-reduction techniques have traditionally been concerned with changing conscious attitudes (overt racism) and obvious expressions of bias, and have commonly utilized educational programs and campaigns aimed at combating such views and behaviors ( Stephan & Stephan, 2001 ). However, because of its pervasiveness, subtlety, and complexity, conventional interventions and legal practices for eliminating racial bias are often ineffective for combating aversive racism. Aversive racists already recognize prejudice as harmful, but they do not recognize that they are prejudiced. Other techniques are thus required.

Redirecting in-group bias. One basic argument we have made in our analysis of contemporary social biases is that the negative feelings that typically develop toward other groups are often rooted in basic socio-cognitive processes. One such process is the categorization of people into in-groups and out-groups. Because categorization is a basic process fundamental to intergroup bias, this process has been targeted in efforts to combat the negative effects of aversive racism.

The Common Ingroup Identity Model ( Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000 ) is one such intervention approach that harnesses social categorization as a means to reduce intergroup bias and has received strong empirical support in interventions with both child and adult populations ( Gaertner et al., 2008 ). Specifically, if members of different groups are induced to think of themselves as a single superordinate in-group rather than as two separate groups, attitudes toward former out-group members will become more positive by reaping the benefits of in-group status. Enhancing the salience of a common ingroup identity has been shown to inhibit the activation of both implicit ( Van Bavel & Cunningham, 2009 and explicit ( Gaertner & Dovidio, 2000 ) biases. Thus, by changing the basis of categorization from race to an alternative, inclusive dimension, one can alter who ‘we’ is and who ‘they’ are, undermining a potent contributing force to contemporary racism. The formation of a common identity, however, need not require groups to forsake their subgroup identities. It is possible for members to conceive of themselves as holding a ‘dual identity’ in which other identities and a superordinate identity are salient simultaneously ( Crisp, Stone, & Hall, 2006 Gaertner, Mann, Murrell & Dovidio, 1989 ).

Acknowledging and addressing unconscious bias. As described earlier, aversive racism is characterized by conscious (explicit) egalitarian attitudes and negative unconscious (implicit) attitudes and beliefs. Simply because implicit attitudes can be unconscious and automatically activated, however, does not mean that they are inevitable or immutable to change. To the extent that implicit attitudes and stereotypes are learned through socialization ( Karpinski & Hilton, 2001 but see Fazio & Olson, 2003 ), they can also be unlearned or inhibited by well-learned countervailing influences. For example, extended practice in associating counter-stereotypic characteristics with racial and ethnic minority groups has been shown to inhibit the automatic activation of cultural stereotypes ( Kawakami, Dovidio, Moll, Hermsen, & Russin, 2000 ). Implicit motivations to control prejudice can similarly inhibit the activation of spontaneous racial biases even when cognitive resources are depleted ( Park, Glaser, & Knowles, 2008 ).

The problem, in practice, is that Whites are typically motivated to avoid seeing themselves as racially biased and often adopt a colorblind strategy when engaging in interracial interactions, particularly when they anticipate racial tension. However, efforts to be colorblind can sometimes produce ‘rebound effects,’ causing biases to become activated even more. Indeed, Uhlmann and Cohen (2005 ) found that participants who were more confident in the objectivity of their judgments were also more likely to discriminate against equally qualified female candidates for a stereotypically male job (chief of police), inflating criteria that favored male over female candidates. Ironically, the act of affirming a non-prejudiced self-image can further increase the likelihood that even ostensibly non-prejudiced individuals will discriminate. Monin and Miller (2001 ) found that, when given the opportunity to disagree with a prejudicial statement (and, thus, affirm a non-prejudiced self-image), individuals were more likely to discriminate against women or a racial minority group when making a subsequent hiring decision. The authors reasoned that the opportunity to reinforce one's egalitarian image (even when done privately) gave participants a ‘license’ to act in a discriminatory manner (see also Effron, 2009 ).

Whites’ attempts to be colorblind can also alienate minority group members, who generally seek acknowledgement of their racial identity, and further contribute to interracial distrust. Consistent with this reasoning, Apfelbaum, Sommers, and Norton (2008 ) found that although avoidance of race was seen as a favorable strategy by Whites for promoting more positive interracial interactions, in practice, failure to acknowledge race actually predicted decrements in Whites’ nonverbal friendliness and resulted in greater perceptions of racial prejudice by Black interaction partners. Clearly, Whites’ intuitions about processes that enhance or attenuate racial bias may not always be supported empirically.

Despite these challenges, it may nevertheless be possible to capitalize on aversive racists’ good intentions and induce self-motivated efforts to reduce the impact of unconscious biases by making them aware of these biases. Work by Monteith and Voils (1998 ) indicates that when low-prejudiced people recognize discrepancies between their behavior (i.e., what they would do) and their personal standards (i.e., what they should do) toward minorities, they feel guilt and compunction, which subsequently produces motivations to respond without prejudice in the future. With practice, these individuals learn to reduce prejudicial responses and respond in ways that are consistent with their non-prejudiced personal standards. When extended over time, this process of self-regulation can produce sustained changes in even automatic negative responses. Dovidio, Kawakami, and Gaertner (2000 ) found that greater discrepancies between what one would do and should do produced higher levels of guilt among Whites in an initial experimental session, and this relationship occurred primarily for low-prejudiced participants. These findings indicate the potential recruitment of self-regulatory processes for low- but not high-prejudiced participants. When participants returned three weeks later, there was generally greater alignment (i.e., smaller discrepancy) between what one would and should do – an indication that both high- and low-prejudiced participants showed a decrease in overt expressions of bias. However, low- and high-prejudiced Whites differed in terms of the extent to which they internalized these changes. Low-prejudiced Whites who had larger initial discrepancies showed greater reductions in implicit stereotyping in contrast, for high-prejudiced Whites, the relationship was weaker and nonsignificant. These findings demonstrate that the good intentions of aversive racists can be harnessed to promote self-initiated change in even unconscious biases with sufficient awareness, effort, and practice.

Son Hing, Li, and Zanna (2002 ) extended work along these lines by examining responses of people identified as non-prejudiced (low in both explicit and implicit prejudice) and aversive racists (low in explicit prejudice but high in implicit prejudice) to self-awareness of one's own hypocrisy. In a study conducted in Canada with Asians as the target minority group, participants were assigned to either a hypocrisy condition, in which they reflected on situations in which they had reacted negatively or unfairly toward an Asian person, or to a control condition in which they were not asked to write about such situations. The researchers predicted that making people aware of violations of their egalitarian principles would arouse guilt among aversive racists (who harbor negative feelings toward Asians) and thus produce compensatory behavior when recommending funding for Asian student groups among aversive racists but not among non-prejudiced participants. The results supported the predictions. Aversive racists in the hypocrisy condition experienced uniquely high levels of guilt and displayed the most generous funding recommendations for the Asian Students’ Association. The funding recommendations of truly low-prejudiced participants, however, were not affected by the hypocrisy manipulation. Son Hing et al. (2002 ) concluded that making people aware of their biases is particularly effective at reducing bias among people who explicitly endorse egalitarian principles while also possessing implicit biases – the factors that characterize aversive racists.

Additional support for this conclusion was obtained from a study that examined physicians’ responses to descriptions of patients showing signs of coronary artery disease. Green et al. (2007 ) found that physicians higher in implicit (but not explicit) racial bias were less likely to recommend aggressive treatment (thrombolysis) for Black relative to White patients. However, physicians who were aware that their recommendations could be influenced by non-conscious racial biases did not show the same relationship between implicit bias and treatment recommendations: Among those who were aware of this potential influence at the outset (approximately 24% of respondents), those with stronger implicit pro-white bias were, in fact, more likely to recommend Black patients for thrombolytic treatment than those with weaker implicit biases. Thus, these individuals were able to consciously ‘correct’ for their implicit biases when making clinical recommendations.

Controlling implicit bias through non-conscious goals. Although bias control has traditionally been conceptualized in terms of conscious efforts to inhibit negative attitudes and stereotypes that become activated in one's mind, recent studies suggest that biases may also be combated at the implicit level through non-conscious processes that inhibit their activation in the first place. In particular, research on non-conscious self-regulation ( Bargh, 1990 ) suggests that goals, such as efforts to be egalitarian, need not be consciously pursued in order to exert influence over one's thoughts and behavior. In a series of studies, Moskowitz, Salomon, and Taylor (2000 ) found that individuals with chronic (explicit) race-related egalitarian goals, but not those with non-chronic egalitarian goals, were faster to respond to egalitarian-relevant words when primed with African-American compared to White faces. In addition, whereas individuals without chronic egalitarian goals responded more quickly to stereotype-relevant (versus stereotype irrelevant) words following African-American faces, individuals with chronic egalitarian goals showed no such evidence of stereotype activation in response to African-American faces (see also Lepore & Brown, 1997 Kawakami, Dion, & Dovidio, 1998 ).

Building on these findings, Moskowitz and colleagues (see Moskowitz & Ignarri, forthcoming , for a review) have found that interventions that enhance motivations to be egalitarian (e.g., having participants describe a personal incident in which they failed to be egalitarian towards African Americans) can not only attenuate, but actively inhibit non-conscious stereotyping. In their research, Whites who were primed in this way were slower to respond to stereotype-relevant, compared to stereotype irrelevant, words after being primed with African-American faces, indicating stereotype inhibition rather than simple non-activation. Importantly, these effects occurred at speeds too fast to implicate conscious control and occurred despite participants being unaware of the relevance of the cognitive reaction time task to stereotyping, implicating an implicit form of bias control operating outside of conscious awareness. Together, these findings suggest that one need not chronically or even consciously pursue egalitarian goals to inhibit the activation of stereotypic thoughts even temporarily activating egalitarian goals was sufficient to reduce implicit stereotyping.

Current research on non-conscious goal pursuit is exploring social and cognitive extensions of these effects. For example, work by Aarts, Gollwitzer, and Hassin (2004 ) on goal contagion reveals that goals such as motivations to not be prejudiced may become automatically activated simply in the presence of egalitarian-minded others, suggesting the importance of observing others’ egalitarian behavior and egalitarian social norms more generally for controlling automatic biases. Other research reveals that goals need not even relate to egalitarianism in or to be effective in combating implicit bias. Sassenberg and Moskowitz (2005 ), for example, revealed that priming creativity (a goal that conflicts with the energy-saving and simplifying features of stereotyping) similarly reduced stereotype activation, suggesting that any goal that is incompatible with stereotyping (in this case, the goal to form atypical associations) may contribute to successful bias control. Finally, Spencer, Fein, Wolfe, Fong, and Dunn (1998 ) identified important boundary conditions for these effects. Whereas some goals may inhibit implicit biases, other, seemingly unrelated, goals (such as the goal to maintain one's self-esteem) can actually enhance the activation of stereotypes ( Spencer et al., 1998 ). Thus, understanding both the nature and the personal and social functions of non-conscious goal pursuits has important implications for understanding the conditions under which efforts to control biases are likely to succeed or fail.

In summary, whereas conscious efforts to avoid stereotyping may often fail or even exacerbate bias because individuals lack insight into the processes that promote and regulate it, passive implicit goals to not stereotype may succeed by co-opting the very psychological mechanisms that sustain it, replacing stereotypic associations with egalitarian or atypical associations when perceiving or interacting with members of other racial and ethnic groups.

Reducing implicit biases through intergroup contact. Recent studies have also begun to explore the effects of intergroup contact on implicit forms of bias. For example, Tam, Hewstone, Harwood, Voci, and Kenworthy (2006 ) and Turner, Hewstone, and Voci (2007 ) assessed the effects of contact on implicit and explicit attitudes toward elderly persons and Whites’ attitudes toward South Asians, respectively. In general, consistent with the idea that implicit attitudes reflect conditioned associations ( Fazio & Olson, 2003 ) that may be dissociated from explicit attitudes, measures of the overall amount of intergroup contact (e.g., proportion of neighbors who are out-group members) were generally found to be better predictors of lower implicit prejudice than were measures of the quality of contact (e.g., self-disclosure and emotional closeness), which better predicted explicit attitudes. However, Aberson and Haag (2007 ) found that among those who experienced little intergroup contact, the quality of contact did predict their level of implicit bias. Interestingly, in all of these studies, the effects of contact on implicit attitudes were not mediated by factors that typically mediate explicit attitudes (e.g., reduced intergroup anxiety, greater perspective taking), but, rather, showed a direct, positive impact on implicit attitudes, suggesting the potential value of simple exposure to out-groups for reducing unconscious biases (for a similar argument, see Karpinski & Hilton, 2001 ). More generally, these findings suggest that, as hypothesized within the aversive racism framework, implicit and explicit attitudes are qualitatively distinct, as opposed to merely reflecting different components of the same attitude, and need to be considered in tandem when developing interventions aimed at combating contemporary prejudice.


Multiculturalism_Multi-Cultural Counseling

Group level: similarities and differences (gender, SES, age, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, religious preference, etc.)
Can be in different groups and one group identity may be more salient than other

Actively trying to understand client's worldview (knowledge)

Actively developing intervention strategies appropriate for the client (skills)

Belief in the Inferiority of Others

Power to Impose Standards

Manifestation in Institutions

emotional expressiveness- like Latino and Asian cultural will that the maturity and wisdom are associated with ones ability to control emotions and feelings. so American may think they are repressed.

Chinese society, psychology has little relevance. like just because ur not insightful doesn't mean ur incapable of insight

1st many think too much thinking causes problems. avoid morbid thoughts, don't think about it.

2nd is many racial. ethnic minority psychologists have felt that insight is a value in itself. that insight led to behavior change. but not always. in fact many behavioral therapist think change in behavior lead to insight not vice-versa.


Abstract

Business-to-business (B2B) buyers are finding it increasingly difficult to judge the true sustainability of supply chain partners (Oruezabala & Rico, 2012). Yet three-quarters of buyers in the OECD report they will dismiss potential supply chain partners who fail to meet sustainability criteria (Pierre, 2008). B2B firms then, cannot afford any confusion over their sustainability practices and positioning. Unfortunately, there are no sustainability positioning measures for firms to assess this, and there is no agreed upon operationalization of a highly sustainable firm vs a weakly sustainable firm. As such, this research creates a B2B sustainability positioning scale and taxonomy. First, interviews with buyers and marketing managers determine perceptions of supplier sustainability practices and defines B2B levels of sustainability. Second, exploratory and confirmatory scale development studies are conducted with 578 experienced industrial buyers. The resulting B2B sustainability positioning scale shows that a sustainably superior positioning for B2B addresses five key factors: (1) sustainability credibility, (2) concern for environmental impact, (3) a careful consideration of stakeholders, (4) resource efficiency, and (5) a holistic philosophy. This scale is intended as a tool to help B2B marketers understand and better leverage their sustainability practices and communications around sustainability.

“We're trying to be cleaner and greener: We recycle waste and switch things off. We use paper from responsibly managed forests whenever possible. We ask our printers to actively reduce waste and energy consumption. We check out our suppliers' working conditions. ”


Chapter Two - Through a looking glass, darkly: Using mechanisms of mind perception to identify accuracy, overconfidence, and underappreciated means for improvement

People care about the minds of others, attempting to understand others' thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, intentions, and emotions using a highly sophisticated process of social cognition. Others' minds are among the most complicated systems that any person will ever think about, meaning that inferences about them are also made imperfectly. Research on the processes that enable mental state inference has largely developed in isolation from research examining the accuracy of these inferences, leaving the former literature somewhat impractical and the latter somewhat atheoretical. We weave these literatures together by describing how basic mechanisms that govern the activation and application of mental state inferences help to explain systematic patterns of accuracy, error, and confidence in mind perception. Altering any of these basic processes, such as through perspective taking or increasing attention to behavioral cues, is likely to increase accuracy only in very specific circumstances. We suggest the most widely effective method for increasing accuracy is to avoid these inference processes altogether by getting another's perspective directly (what we refer to as perspective getting). Those in the midst of understanding the mind of another, however, seem largely unable to detect when they are using an effective versus ineffective strategy while engaging in mind reading, meaning that the most effective approaches for increasing interpersonal understanding are likely to be highly undervalued. Understanding how mind perception is activated and applied can explain accuracy and error, identifying effective strategies that mind readers may nevertheless fail to appreciate in their everyday lives.

Through a looking glass, darkly: Using mechanisms of mind perception to identify accuracy, overconfidence, and underappreciated means for improvement.