Course Content

The course will cover topics relating to the application of behavioural economics to unions and unionism. It will include an introduction to behavioural economics, an understanding of their theory around human behaviour, and best-practise experimentation. The course will also cover the application of behavioural economics to the union context, including introducing a motivation model for participating in unions and an understanding of value propositions and their development.

 Key Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course participants will:

  • Have a basic understanding of behavioural economics and human behaviour
  • Be able to identify the 3 primary factors that influence human behaviour and conceptualise a model of behaviour for any given problem.
  • Be able to develop a plan for designing and implementing a behavioural experiment.
  • Be able to identify the key categories of motivation for participation in unions and identify which ones are most relevant for their union and the employees they can represent
  • Create a value proposition for active participation within their organisation

Module 1: Understanding behaviour and experimentation

Section 1 – An introduction to behavioural economics.

Module 1 will comprise an introduction to the principles and methods of behavioural economics and human behaviour. In this module participants will be presented with key principles, such as rationality, fast- and slow-thinking and nudge theory. They will get a preliminary understanding of the factors that influence behaviour, such as emotions, cognitive biases and heuristics. The model will also provide an overview of how behavioural science and behavioural insights are being applied to economic problems globally.

At the end of this section, participants should:

  • Have a basic understanding of behavioural economics and its application
  • Be able to identify key behavioural economic principles

Section 2 – Running a behavioural experiment.

Section 2 will outline best-practise methodology for running an experiment. It will give participants an understanding of why implementing an appropriate experimental methodology is crucial to the success of a project and introduce the ABIU 7-step methodology: Identify, Understand, Intervention Generation, Experimental Design, Implement and Monitor, Analyse and Evaluate, and Next Steps.

At the end of this section, participants will

  • Understand the importance of implementing best-practise methodology
  • Understand the 7-steps for running a behavioural experiment.
  • Understand why having an appropriate control is crucial for evaluation of an experiment
  • Be able to identify an appropriate control for an experiment
  • Be able to develop a plan for researching, designing, implementing and evaluating a behavioural experiment

Section 3 – Understanding behaviour.

Section 3 will build on what participants learned in Section 2. Specifically, it will build on the understanding stage of the seven (7)-step methodology. Participants will be introduced to a model that sets out the three primary factors that influence behaviour: Individual Factors, Community Factors, and Societal and Environmental Factors. Participants will get a more in-depth learning about how emotions, beliefs and attitudes, biases and heuristics and norms.

At the end of this section, participants should:

  • Conceptualise a behaviour and understand behavioural intent and action
  • Be able to identify the 3 primary factors that influence human behaviour
  • Apply the three factors to better understand behaviour for any given problem

Module 2: Applying behavioural theory to unionism

Section 4 – Introduction to a utility model for unionism

Section 4 will introduce participants to ABIU’s utility model for unionism. The utility model sets out one theory of the motivations that influence the decision to join a union. Participants will be taught the four primary motivations for union participation: Collective benefits, Material benefits, Social capital benefits and Intrinsic benefits. We will discuss the subcategories of motivations, segmentation, and factors which influence the importance of different motivations.

At the end of this section, participants should:

  • Understand the different categories of benefit using the ABIU utility model
  • Understand the process by which unions can identify which motivations are most relevant for their union and employees they can represent
  • Identify whether their union is meeting the needs of workforce they represent

Section 5 – Creating a value proposition

Section 5 will explain how ABIU’s utility model can be used to assist unions in developing a value proposition. It will give background into what a value proposition is, why it is important and how it is used by organisations to convey value. This section will also explain to participants what goes into developing a value proposition and how they can create one for their own union.

At the end of this section, participants should:

  • Understand what value is, and why it is important to have one.
  • Understand how value propositions can be used to convey the value of unionism
  • Conduct a PEST and SWOT analysis.
  • Be able to develop a value proposition for their union.

How does the course meet the objectives of the PET Fund Project?

This course seeks to build the skills of employee representatives to ensure they are accurately measuring the impacts of their work. This will help continue to ensure that engagement with employees and feedback to employers is refined and improved. This includes designing and running experiments and understanding the behaviour of employees to help ensure that the operations of unions actively promotes ongoing feedback that contributes to the successful operation of the workplace relations system.

Please ensure relevant approval has been granted by your union in accordance with its rules and elected official and note the cost of this course is $260.00 (GST inclusive).


13 & 14 October – 1pm to 5pm AEDT

27 & 28 October – 1pm to 5pm AEDT