Case study

Learning how to adapt to change

Gerry Mullholland works for global grocery technology business the Ocado Group. He is the group’s Global Health, Safety and Environmental Director. He is also a graduate of our MSc Behaviour Change programme. The skills and knowledge he learned on our course have helped him develop his role.

Wide ranging role

Ocado don’t just deliver groceries. Ocado Group describe themselves as a technology-led global software and robotics platform business providing a unique end-to-end solution for online grocery around the world, with a mission to "change the way the world shops".

For instance, let’s look at Gerry’s role. It includes:

And Gerry needs to coordinate the management of associated risks across a culturally different global workforce.

He chose to study the MSc Behaviour Change programme at Derby as at the time it was the only course of its kind. He explains: “I was looking to blend the ever-increasing importance of behavioural change with my role and how I could utilise academic professional development to help me do this. I thoroughly enjoyed the course at Derby.”

A tailored approach

Rather than rely on a once-size-fits-all approach, Gerry has used learning from the programme to understand how exactly motivational drivers can differ between the many cultural groups that characterise a global workforce.

Gerry has used this understanding to tailor his communication and his approaches.

He wanted to ensure global adoption of an approach. But he understood that how people adapt to change can differ widely from place to place and also within the different business groups of the Ocado business. 

Gerry knew what to do when initiating change. And he has now been able to apply programme learning to adapt how to change according to more local characteristics, networks, and change agents.

Building on knowledge

And Gerry understands that programme content on the theories and models of behaviour and behaviour change has also helped him to formalise and build upon existing knowledge about why behaviours occur.

This has allowed him to steer more precise incident investigations to identify what behaviour needs to be targeted. And drill down into underlying causes and generate suitable controls.

He has also applied the research skills he learned on the programme to the process of reliably gathering and presenting evidence. And he has helped teams to adopt a similar approach.