Social Movement Action Framework

The Social Movement Action (SMA) Framework (Grinspun et al., 2020; Grinspun et al., 2022) is a collection of core elements that depict a social movement in the context of using knowledge to create lasting change. It describes a people-led, "bottom-up" grassroots approach to change that develops in response to an urgent shared concern or strongly desired change as well as a readiness for purposeful action by individuals, groups and organizations.

The SMA Framework provides an outline of all of the associated elements that are part of a social movement.

sma full framework

Planning for change

For the Social Movement Action Framework, the "Planning for change" time point includes the three Preconditions (or antecedents) - i.e., what must be in place in order for a social movement to occur. 

Below are links to the relevant article pages of the three Preconditions and some of the many case studies to illustrate each of the preconditions.  

Social Movement Action Framework

Valuing the need for hospice and palliative care services

Advocacy for humane death and dying care practices led to the valuing and realization of hospice and palliative care services in South Australia. 

Palliative Care
Social Movement Action Framework

Taking action to create change

A coalition of community partners who took action and created change for cancer prevention and promotion. 

Alabama, USA
Alabama Cancer Coalition
Social Movement Action Framework

Applying grassroots advocacy for girls and women with disabilities

Using collective action, the Disabled Women's Network (DAWN) has advocated for the rights of girls and women with disabilities. 

Case Study


Making change happen

The "Making change happen" time point includes the 10 Key Characteristics (or defining attributes) of the Social Movement Action (SMA) Framework - that is, the elements that must be present for social movement action to occur. 

Below are links to three article pages of SMA key characteristic elements and three case studies that illustrate SMA key characteristics.   

Social Movement Action Framework

Championing clinical excellence in acute care

Vall d’Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus championed clinical excellence through nurses' and other staff's leadership and intrinsic motivation. 

Vall d'Hebron
Vall d'Hebron
Social Movement Action Framework

Advancing knowledge uptake and sustainability using best practice guidelines

The Best Practice Champions Network® has been engaging change agents for over two decades to facilitate connection, a sense of belonging and a place to continue the implementation of best practice guidelines. 

Best Practice Champions Network - Global
BPSO Champions
Social Movement Action Framework

Engaging collective strength in action

The change team at Central West Specialized Developmental Services (CWSDS) has built a strong core leadership structure to support their implementation efforts by including both formal and informal leaders. 

Central West Specialized Developmental Services


Sustaining change 

 The "Sustaining change" time point incudes the three outcomes of the Social Movement Action (SMA) Framework: Goals and outcomes are met; Change is scaled up, out or deep; Capacity in leading change is increased. 

Below are links to article pages that describe the three outcomes and three case studies that illustrate sustaining change.     

Social Movement Action Framework

Advocating for Alzheimer's knowledge

The Alzheimer's Association was started by activists committed to advancing Alzheimer's knowledge through research. 

Alzheimers Association
Social Movement Action Framework

Scaling up, scaling out and scaling deep a fall prevention initiative

A joint fall prevention program by RNAO and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) that was scaled up, scaled out and scaled deep.  

Social Movement Action Framework

Building capacity in change agents for health innovation and transformation

United Kingdom junior doctors increased their capacity as change agents after mobilizing and implementing the WHO surgical checklist. 

United Kingdom
Surgical Safety Checklist

Implementation tools

Downloadable tips and tools to give you and your change team the know-how to effectively sustain a practice change

Case Studies

Demonstrates usage of components of one of the frameworks or the journey process

Implementation Tools

Checklists, Worksheets, and Resources to aid discussions, decision-making and planning for change  

KTA Tools

Tools to aid discussions, decision-making and planning for change

Other sections in the Leading Change Toolkit

Three other sections in the Leading Change Toolkit that can help you to achieve and sustain change: Engaging persons with lived experience; Knowledge-to-Action Framework; and Two complementary frameworks. 

engaging persons big
Engaging persons with lived experience

Strategies for how to engage persons with live experience in a change initiative, including as members of a change team. 

kta big
Knowledge-to-Action Framework

The Knowledge-to-Action Framework includes seven action cycle phases to support achieving and sustaining  a change initiative. 

venn big
Two complementary frameworks

The Social Movement Action and Knowledge-to-Action Frameworks can be used as complementary approaches to support a change initiative.