When all you have is a Hammer, everything looks like a Nail — The Einstellung Effect on Organisational Transformation
“To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” — Twain/Maslow/Kaplan/Baruch/Buddha/Unknown
The Law of the Instrument
The law of the instrument, otherwise known as Maslow’s hammer is a cognitive bias that involves an over-reliance on a familiar tool. As Abraham Maslow said in 1966, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”
A hammer is not the most appropriate tool for every purpose. Yet a person with only a hammer is likely to try and fix everything using their hammer. often without even considering other options. We prefer to make do with what we have rather than looking for a better alternatives.
This Thursday Thought explores how the law of instrument is prevalent in change management, disruption, innovation organisational transformation and digital transformation.
It examines the biases that lock our thinking. It also looks at why most digital transformations fail.
True transformation of any kind must be done through an integration of the right tools and the right mindset. However, we will never change business models, without first changing mental models.
The Einstellung Effect
Einstellung is the development of a mechanised state of mind. The Einstellung effect is the negative effect of our previous experiences when solving new problems.
Einstellung refers to our predisposition to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though better or more appropriate methods of solving the problem exist. (Maslow’s Hammer)
In 1942 renowned psychologist Abraham Luchins conducted an experiment to…