We speak a fair bit at events where the organizers and audience are interested in learning how behavioral science, organizational network analytics, and machine-learning techniques are coming together in the context of culture and conduct risk governance and supervision. Nearly always someone asks, "What can I read to learn more about this stuff?"
As such, each year we have complemented our Compendium with a list of some of the works that sit dog-eared on our bookshelves, yellow highlighter marks competing with coffee stains and notes in the margins. We hope our readers will be inspired to give one or two of these terrific books a glance — and most particularly those by contributors to this year's report, noted below.
For more, please see our 2021 Bookshelf and 2020 Bookshelf.
"Humans have become successful not by being selfish and smart, but by being social."
"Businesses are the most important communities we have."
"We see no inherent tension between community and market: markets can function effectively only when embedded in a network of social relations."
"The organization whose purpose is shareholder value has little to offer its employees other than their paychecks."
"Markets are not ends in themselves, but powerful means for prosperity and security for all. As such, they need to retain the consent of society — a social licence — to be allowed to operate, innovate and grow."
"A series of scandals have called the social licence of finance into question. This malaise in corners of finance can be remedied only by a combination of regulatory measures and true cultural change."
"Individual human choices have a social as well as an environmental context. We make decisions amid greater social complexity than many other biological creatures, or AI agents."
"The economist's analytical perspective of benign objectivity, while essential to devising policies in the broad public interest, cannot survive the transition from ivory tower to the streets, or even to the quiet and shabby corridors of regulatory office blocks."
"The suggestion that the structure of a group, organization, or community shapes the behavior of people within it, and through that, influences the group, is one of the core assumptions of social psychology, which views human behavior as a response to the nature of the social institutions within which people are embedded..."
"However, legal institutions are designed based upon the assumption that behavior is shaped by the instrumental risks of sanctioning."
"If we truly care about making law more effective, we must learn to understand the behavioral code."
"We must delve into the social science that shows us what has remained hidden. Science has made the invisible behavioral code visible... Over the last four decades, scientific insights have revolutionized our understanding of how humans act and why they misbehave. But the science has yet to be adopted in our laws."
"The philosopher's stone of human self-understanding is the relation between biological and cultural evolution."
"Regardless of how subtle, fleeting, and personalized human thought may be, all of it has a physical basis ultimately explainable by the scientific method."
"Human nature... is not the genes that prescribe it... It is the herediary propensity to learn certain forms of behavior and to avoid others."
"We appear to be the only species able to copy and imitate others' ideas, an ability we called social learning."
"Social learning is to ideas what natural selection is to genes."
"The distinctive and salient feature of much of our social existence is the sense of belonging to a cultural group towards which we feel an allegiance that we often do not easily extend to others outside of that group."
"These are adaptations that have wired our minds and bodies for culture."
"The key to understanding how humans evolved and why we are so different from other animals is to recognize that we are a cultural species."
"Humans are adaptive cultural learners who acquire ideas, beliefs, values, social norms, motivations and worldviews from others in their communities."
"Once we understand humans as a cultural species, the toolbox for designing new organizations, policies and institutions begins to look quite different."
"Being part of a group makes us feel properly human. We feel more relaxed when we know we belong."
"Our choice of friends is heavily dictated by trying to find like-minded people, people we feel comfortable with in casual company, people we don't have to explain the joke to every time, people who think like us and whose behaviour we don't have to work hard at trying to understand... In short, people we can trust because we think we know how they think."
"Who we are is, at least partly, about the groups we belong to."
"We each feel that our beliefs are entirely our own, chosen at will, consciously considered. We don't see, or don't acknowledge, that they are formed from a mix of innate predispositions (our biology) and the unwritten rules and norms we learn from our social world..."
"It may be our individual predispositions that drive us to seek membership of particular groups, but once we are members it is likely we will change. We want to fit in."
“We humans are so profoundly social that just our awareness of others can shift our behavior. This desire to be aligned with other people — what scientists call our "conformity bias" — isn't optional: it's a hardwired part of our biology."
"Simply put, collective illusions are social lies. They occur in situations where a majority of individuals in a group privately reject a particular opinion, but they go along with it because they (incorrectly) assume that most other people accept it."
“[A]spects of one's identity have an influence on all sorts of daily decisions, often outside once's conscious awareness. Your preferences are fundamentally shaped by your social identity, and the reason is quite simple: your social identity is you."
"The ways in which you strive to be an independent self are influenced by the norms of the group you identify with. Norms are the accepted standards of behavior within social groups and influence how you behave."
“The culture of a group can be defined as the accumulated shared learning of that group … a pattern of systems or beliefs, values, and behavioral norms that come to be taken for granted and eventually drop out of awareness."
"Public scandals force senior executives to examine norms and practices and assumptions that had been taken for granted and operated out of awareness... These reexaminations sometimes lead to new practices, but they do not automatically create new cultures."
“We need to recognize that we are all creatures of our environment, in an ecological, social, and cultural sense."
"Just as adding salt to food binds the ingredients and enhances the flavor, adding anthropological ideas to disciplines such as economics, data science, law, or medicine creates a deeper, richer analysis. Blending computing and social science should be a particular priority today."
"Computer science needs social science, if you want to make sense of data."
“Complexity science is an effort to discern and theorize common patterns in complex systems from multiple scientific perspectives."
"In biology, for example, there is the theory of evolution; in economics there is utility maximization and game theory; and in engineering mathematics there is Alan Turing's theory of computation. Complexity science seeks to connect these theories, to find explanatory and predictive frameworks..."
“Complexity arises in systems of intracting agents. Take some agents with simple behavior, connect them together in a particular way, and some global behavior arises. Given this, knowing how patterns of interactions — that is, networks — influence behavior is fundamental to understanding complex systems."
"Without a science of complex systems, we have little chance to understand, let alone shape, the world around us."
“Perhaps the terms most closely associated with protective structures — regulation, compliance, oversight and inspection — are fundamentally mismatched to complexity."
"The traditional model would claim that for accidents to happen, something must break, something must give, something must malfunction... [But] in the drift into failure, accidents can happen without anything breaking, without anybody erring, without anybody violating rules they consider relevant."
“When systems have many layers of defenses, they are largely proof against single failures, either human or technical. The only types of accidents they can suffer are organizational accidents."
"Organizational failures are deficiencies in either the structure of a company or the way in which it conducts its business that allow safety responsibilities to become ill-defined and warning signs to be overlooked."
"Latent conditions act like resident pathogens..."
“If decentralization becomes highly desirable in business, then we will need to manage in new ways. But most of us still have — deep in our minds — models of management based on the classic, centralized philosophy of command and control. To be successful in the world we're entering, we will need a new set of mental models."
"We need to shift our thinking from command-and-control to coordinate-and-cultivate."
“Most organizations are designed to facilitate, motivate, or constrain an individual's behavior toward driving its core purpose. This was a successful strategy when organizations were operating in relatively stable environments. However, in today's dynamic environment, organizations need to be more liquid than static."
"Adaptive Space creates connections that serve to discover, develop, and diffuse new ideas across an organization... to become more agile."
“It is striking that as information technology has grown more powerful and influential, the importance of human groups — as distinct from individuals — in creating knowledge has increased enormously."
"More than ever, work today gets done in teams, and every team is a social unit. The quality of its social interactions — intrateam and interteam — determines its success or failure."
“Without significant fanfare — or even visibility — we are integrating nonhuman intelligence into the basic fabric of human activity."
"This development will transform entire fields by enveloping them in AI-assisted processes, with the lines between purely human, purely AI, and hybrid human-AI decision making sometimes becoming difficult to define."
"AI will transform our approach to what we know, how we know, and even what is knowable."
“[In] order to achieve the regulatory objective of behavioural change, a "command and control" regulatory approach ... is unlikely to be sufficient."
"Whilst the imposition of sanctions on firms and individuals for serious regulatory breaches is a necessary and important aspect of an effective accountability regime, new accountability is focused on mechanisms, in addition to the implementation of legal requirements and sanctions, which may serve to improve behaviours in financial services."
“Conduct regulators see it as an essential task of their own — since it's what they are striving to regulate — to understand the raw material of conduct through studying the science of human behaviour."
"Conduct regulators expect firms to develop leading indicators of misconduct and to intervene earlier to improve unhealthy workplace cultures. Reg tech, tougher live supervision, and rising public expectations all play a part in supporting this."
“For authorities, the use of suptech could improve oversight, surveillance and analytical capabilities, and generate real-time indicators of risk to support forward-looking, judgement-based supervision and policymaking."
"For regulated institutions, the use of regtech could improve compliance outcomes, enhance risk management capabilities and generate new insights into the business for improved decision making."