Framework for Social Behaviour Change

Share the joy

Health is created through the interplay of biology and the social determinants that shape human interaction. These social determinants include factors such as knowledge, attitudes, norms and cultural practices. Social Behaviour Change is associated with human interaction and willingness to improve health and well-being of individual person.

Behaviour change is commonly defined as a research-based consultative process for addressing knowledge, attitudes and practices that are intrinsically linked to programme goals. Its vision includes providing participants with relevant information and motivation through well-defined strategies, using an audience-appropriate mix of interpersonal, group and mass-media channels and participatory methods. Behaviour change strategies tend to focus on the individual as a locus of change.

Social change, on the other hand, is understood as a process of transformation in the way society is organised, within social and political institutions, and in the distribution of power within those institutions. For behaviours to change on a large scale, certain harmful cultural practices, societal norms and structural inequalities have to be taken into consideration. Social change approaches, thus, tend to focus on the community as the unit of change.

How to take baby steps for social behaviour change?

According to Peter Senge the process and content are inseparable. The separation between the issues we are interested in and the processes we might use to learn about them may be the primary obstacle to potential breakthroughs.

Communities of Practice Development

C-Port team from NASA collaborated with David Sibbet of The Grove consultants developed Communities of Practice Development Model. It introduces seven stages of Communities of Practice Development.

communities of practice development model

The stages are not necessarily sequential. They can occur simultaneously and or in parallel primarily due to the periodic infusion of new members into the community. The level of community members participation and involvement can vary periodically and intensity. As community members turn to more creative activities, they are propelled forward by increasing capacity of their “river of practice”. Since they are collaborating, they have considerable capability for creating knowledge at an appreciable level.

 1.  Conceiving and catalyzing

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Catalyzing the idea and making it clear and feasible will require open leadership. Management must resist the tendency for over-control. Incorrect preconceptions and unrealistic expectations will hinder the germination of the community. The organizational leadership must be given to that person who has the vision and the capacity to launch this opportunity and to make it happen.

2Connecting people

“No knower, no knowledge…know knower, know knowledge.” Evelyn D Robertson

Community membership grows when individuals have a desire to learn and mutual interest in linking with other professionals who share the same interest. Special attention must be given to ensure appropriate resources are allocated for interacting – including space for face-to-face meetings, or networking and internet capabilities for virtual interaction.

3.  Sharing know-how

“Mixing one’s wines may be a mistake. But old and new wisdom mix admirably.” Bertoit Brecht

It happens when people begin to realize the value of finding answers to key questions. The pay-offs start to become clearer, and the documents, tools, processes, and common language are all regarded as shared community practice. The community is very sensitive at this juncture to any indications of lack of openness to sharing, expertise gaps in the community, and lack of time to adequately invest in the community.

 4.  Building trust

“Trust is the bandwidth of communication.” Karl Erik Sveiby

Trust nurtures bonding and helpful relationships become commonplace. As a recognition of shared values and shared motivation emerges, the commitment to community gains enthusiasm, and members enjoy the community as a new resource for their professional interests and needs. High trust engenders creativity, collaboration, innovation, connections, sharing, and openness. On the other hand, low trust engenders hoarding, skepticism, vested interests, self-serving orientation, employee dissatisfaction and distrust.

 5.  Collaborating

“Wealth flows directly from innovation, not through optimization. Wealth is not gained from perfecting the known, but by imperfectly seizing the unknown.” Kevin Kelly

Community members are discovering newly found joint interests and enjoy the synergy of interacting with ready access, when and where needed. The community needs to watch out for both hoardings and becoming too formal with its new activities.

 6.  Creating knowledge

“A true dialogue is never the exchange of readily available knowledge, but the active organization of knowledge, which was not in the world before.” Erich Jaunts

This stage engages people beyond basic knowledge sharing. There is a clear sense of moving beyond normal capacity. With a sense of flowing forward, members pops with new ideas and innovative possibilities with very vibrant interactions. Margaret Boden says there are two types of creative thoughts:

  1. P-creative   : psychological, personal
  2. H-creative : historical.

P-creative ideas are fundamentally new to the individual mind.
H-creative ideas are historically grounded, but fundamentally new to the whole of recorded human history.

Observably, the H-creative ideas by definition are also P-creative. Society socially recognizes them as creative ideas. But P-creative ideas are possible in every human being. These are the ideas that promote innovation and move the organization forward to dramatically improved results.

7.  Continuation-renewal

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn.” Chris Pain

A supportive climate, proper acknowledgements, and clear opportunities for continued learning will inspire an evolution in activity. The flow of people in and out of communities can facilitate the creation of new ideas and the spreading of knowledge across the enterprise.  The static situation or no food for shifting attention may restrict the growth of human as well as organization.


Vijaya Sawant

Vijaya Sawant is an exceptional project management professional with a unique blend of business, project management and technology skills. She has more than 25 years of latest technology implementation experience in both matrix and projectile environment. She has a first-rate track record of successfully spearheading and delivering a broad range of high impact, high profile projects, including leadership of multi-national, multi-vendor teams. She has demonstrated ability to bring about positive change through crafting relationships with multi stakeholder groups and service delivery groups, understanding business needs and proposing and delivering viable technology solutions.

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A beautiful mind Dr John Nash