Willpower is the ability to control instinctive responses to environmental cues. Self-control is a limited but replenishing resource, like a 24 hour forest. Employees must be given opportunities to develop their psychological resources to become more resilient to ego depletion.
Repeated practice of self-control improves willpower. Regular mental rehearsal improves one’s capacity for self-control by developing psychological resources. Consistent mental rehearsal leads to better performance.
The exercise of self-control provides the neural stability for behavioural rooting across a wide range of contexts. However, self-control requires the use of the prefrontal cortex which is the most expensive part of the brain, this means employees will not commit resources without motivation. Improving organisational behaviour depends upon employees’ intrinsic motivation.
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- Noël X, Van Der Linden M, Bechara A. The Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Decision-making, Impulse Control, and Loss of Willpower to Resist Drugs. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2006;3(5):30-41.
- Veling, H. & Aarts, H. (2009). Putting behavior on hold decreases reward value of need-instrumental objects outside of awareness. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1020-1023. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2009.04.020