Change is valued and necessary

Change is valued and necessary

The "Change is valued and necessary" element - one of the three preconditions of a social movement,  - reflects how social movements are values-driven and are driven by a desire to advance common goals. In this section, you will learn how values play a central role in social movements. And as a change agent or part of a change team, you'll find out how to gauge whether change is valued by others.   

What is the precondition "Change is valued and necessary"?

In social movements, people come together to achieve change to improve outcomes, such as enhancing service provision and access, providing safe reliable options, addressing inequities, and/or advocating for at-risk individuals (Arnold et al., 2018; Bate et al., 2004b; Carson-Stevens et al., 2013; Grinspun, 2018; Waring & Crompton, 2017). This change is driven by values.

Change never occurs in isolation. It is always impacted by contextual elements, such as the local setting or the timing when the change occurs. The push for change in social movements is influenced and shaped by the local social system – the individuals who are working together, their relationships and interactions – and the areas of change that the social system deems as prioritized and valued.

How much value is placed on the change by the social system can be either a facilitator or a barrier (Rogers, 2003):

  • When change is valued and aligns with people’s norms, beliefs and culture, it can be a facilitator that positively speeds uptake and spread.
  • When change is not valued, supported or prioritized within the social system, it can be a barrier - whether it is rejected outright or fails to make any progress or gain momentum.    

Why is this precondition important? 

  • Change that is valued and necessary can positively impact individuals’ trajectories. This is especially true when areas of inequities are targeted and when values of fairness or justice are integrated, such as accessibility and inclusivity. 
  • Change that is valued and necessary acts as a driver for action. Shared concerns or strongly desired changes represent areas that people believe need further enhancements, or where current practice needs to be stopped or accelerated.  When change is valued and necessary, it creates timeliness and urgency for action.   
  • People are attracted to change that they value and view as necessary. When the change aligns with people’s intrinsic values, it is personally meaningful and drives their need to become involved and invested in the change. This acts as a precursor for being ready to take action through a social movement. 

SOURCES: del Castillo et al., 2016; Kapilashrami et al., 2016; Ruglis & Freudenberg, 2010.


Accelerate Your Success: The Knowledge-to-Action Framework’s "Identify the problem" action cycle phase includes strategies to prioritize areas for change by assessing the gap between current practices and best practices as informed by knowledge. This "knowledge-to-practice gap" offers change teams a detailed approach to identifying the areas of change that should be addressed. It can also sharpen their understanding of priority areas. Visit Determining the knowledge-to-practice gap (know-do gap) to find out more.