Common problems

Here are two common problems you and your change team may experience, their rationale and suggested strategies to address them:

Common problems Rationale Strategies to address the problem
An understanding of the social movement limited to its slogans or logos Although slogans or logos can be an effective ‘snapshot’ of a social movement, the complex underlying values, beliefs and history that define the movement must be understood. If everyone lacks this understanding, the active and continued engagement of supporters can be fleeting as they fail to ground their identity in the social movement.     Continue to remind and reinforce with those engaged in the social movement the underlying principles of the change initiative including the shared concern and/or desired change, vision, and goals.
An over-emphasis on tangible representations of collective identity A pin (or t-shirt or slogan) is just that – a pin. The powerful force of collective identity lies always in the cognitive, social and emotional connections of the individuals engaged in the social movement. Emphasize the cognitive, social and emotional ties of those engaged in the social movement. For strategies, see the section ‘Considerations for getting started’.

SOURCES: Bibby et al., 2009; Carson-Stevens et al. 2013; Grinspun & Bajnok, 2108; Herechuk et al., 2010.


Accelerate Your Success: The Knowledge-to-Action Framework’s Identify the problemaction cycle phase highlights the importance of understanding the complexity of a problem or issue to support prioritizing actions for change to address the problem. Similarly, an in-depth understanding of a shared concern can help change agents and change teams to clarify the goals and purpose of their individual and collective action and support the development of their collective identity. Visit More about this phase | to find out more.