Trendsetters and social change

Summary of Week 4 of Social Norms, Social Change II (Coursera – University of Pennsylvania & UNICEF)

A person’s choice to abandon a norm depends on their sensitivity to the norm, their risk sensitivity, their risk perception and how many others are following the norm.

One of the requirements of successful norm change is first-movers willing to spark the change. What makes a person a first mover? First movers are people with very low thresholds who are willing to defy the established norm. They: have low sensitivity to the norm (i.e. does not care about the norm); are autonomous in their decision making, and; have a low perception of the risk.

There exists a network of social relations, and the structure of these networks may determine whether deviant behaviour will or will not produce a social change. With increasing abandonment, increasingly more people are likely to abandon the norm. This is because the perception of the risk involved decreases. This continues until a tipping point is reached. However, if there is a big gap between the trendsetter threshold and other peoples’ thresholds, failed diffusion will occur and the new behaviour dies out.

Coordination mechanisms for empirical expectations to induce behaviour change include the media, trusted government mandate and a public commitment.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s