Initial Research Results: Arbinger Training Improves Performance, Culture, and Engagement




The preliminary results of an ongoing study conducted by researchers from Georgetown and Cornell Universities suggests Arbinger's training significantly improves employee performance and attitudes, increasing several variables that positively impact organizational culture and employee engagement.


By the Arbinger Institute | September 08, 2017

We are excited to relate some of the initial results of an ongoing, long-term study conducted by researchers at Georgetown and Cornell Universities. The study will conclude at the end of 2017, after which we will report the full analysis and final results.

In the meantime, the study suggests Arbinger's training significantly improves employee performance and attitudes, increasing several variables that positively impact organizational culture and employee engagement.

Study Design

These results are based on a series of surveys being conducted at a military hospital with 1400 employees located in the Midwestern United States. Surveys were administered to two random groups of employees: a control group and the test group. Both groups completed an initial survey to set a baseline for certain measures of mindset such as attitudes regarding employee empowerment, management support, and collaboration.

After participating in Arbinger’s two-day Developing and Implementing an Outward Mindset (DIOM) workshop, the test group then completed an immediate post-workshop survey.

About six to eight weeks after the DIOM workshop, both the control and test groups completed another survey—this one almost identical to the first (baseline) survey—to measure whether and to what extent the test group had changed mindset and behavior as a result of the workshop.

Finally, approximately four months after the DIOM workshop, each participant’s supervisor completed a survey about the participant’s performance and effectiveness compared to four months prior (i.e., compared to before the workshop).

These surveys were conducted in five iterations over the course of about one year, with approximately 100-150 employees in each iteration.

Initial Results

The study clearly indicates that:

  1. Arbinger's training increases employee cooperation and collaboration by 12%. Comparing month-on-month performance as rated by their supervisors, test group employees scored 12.14% higher than control group employees in terms of improvements in cooperation and collaboration.
  2. Arbinger's training increases an employee's personal investment in their work by 11%. Similarly, test group employees were rated 10.98% higher by their supervisors in terms of improvements in their personal investment in their work.

These findings are particularly meaningful because they are not self-scored results collected shortly after an Arbinger training, but a supervisor’s assessment of behavior and performance four months after training. The length of time and outside perspective indicate these changes are concrete and at least somewhat sustained.

Arbinger is Contagious

Even more interestingly, the study has revealed an “Arbinger contagion effect.” As indicated above, when leaders take Arbinger's training, they themselves improve (as measured by their supervisors) in terms of performance, attitude, and engagement. With the contagion effect, their subordinates—who did not take the training—also show noticeable attitudinal improvements.

These improvements were measured several months after the employees’ leaders had received the training and showed that:

  1. Untrained employees feel more psychologically safe
  2. Untrained employees have a greater commitment to the organization
  3. Untrained employees feel more empowered
  4. Untrained employees feel increased support and advocacy from their leaders
  5. Untrained employees are more focused on how they impact others
  6. Untrained employees have greater perceptions of the utility of working collaboratively

We are excited for the final results—stay tuned!

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