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What is Pragmatology?

We can all get set in our ways. Even when we see a need to do things differently, change can be very hard. The goal of Pragmatology is to understand why we act in the ways that we do, and use this knowledge to make us happier in what we do.

Just as engineers use ergonomics – an understanding of how our bodies function – to make physical activities easier and less stressful, Pragmatologists use cognitive ergonomics – understanding how our minds naturally work – to do the same for mental activities like problem solving and decision making.

Pragmatology combines two things: The first is pragmatism, that is, doing what will work, rather than just keeping on with the same old routines; The second is – ology; science, in other words. Pragmatology is the application of scientific research in order to be more pragmatic.

Pragmatology is not about telling people how to behave, it is about being more aware of our own behaviour, and supporting each other in achieving different results.


How does it work?


  1. People generally have good intentions and want to do their best
  2. The decisions people make are driven by more than conscious reason, there are processes that we are unaware of at work all the time
  3. We learn, and relearn, how to act through experience (doing stuff) and reflection (thinking about it)


This philosophy leads to a corresponding three-part approach:

  1. We make our actions and their consequences clear, both positive and negative
  2. We identify what makes a good day, what we do and what triggers it, and then reinforce these to make good days more common
  3. When positive triggers are not clear, we will experiment, try new things and challenge our assumptions in order to push beyond what we thought was possible

In practice this means using tools to monitor activities and their results; giving positive feedback; rigorous investigation of negative outcomes and what led to them, challenging assumptions and motivations; and trying new ways of doing things.

What help is available?

If you are interested in some of the concepts mentioned, a small number of books are available in our shop.

On a more practical level, a range of help is available to individuals and groups, from educational sessions, through workshops to in-depth coaching. At a business level assistance can be provided in analysing performance, designing tools, systems and processes, and supporting putting them in place. Assessment is also available for hiring and developing team members. Look at our services page for more information.

Alternatively, call for a to discuss what you'd like to achieve, we're always happy to chat and offer an opinion. Find our email and phone details on the contact page.