Considerations for getting started

Considerations for getting started

To get started with individual and collective action, some strategies are provided in the tables below. The suggestions are categorized according to the five key components of this element described in the preceding section.  

1. A ‘bottom-up’ pressure for change
  • Invite individuals who are interested in the shared concern or have a strong desire for change to a roundtable meeting to generate ideas and start building support and engagement.  
  • Use consensus to develop the shared purpose of the social movement. Share this with others not engaged in the social movement to start building a broader base of support.
  • Seek leaders (informal and/or formal) with capacities to engage in change.
  • Take action early to build momentum once the shared concern or desired change has been determined and there is a readiness for change.
  • Think strategically about the timing of the change; for example, the publication of new evidence (e.g., a new guideline) can act as a catalyst for change and prompt a push for action in response.
2. Individual and collective sense of agency – I/We can make a difference!
  • Commit to changing the workplace culture and practice to support the development of frontline staff as informal leaders who engage in creating or co-designing change. Recognize that workplace culture is the creation of both informal and formal leaders and their dynamics.
  • Seek to share power and use democratic processes and consensus to determine strategies for individual and collective action.
  • Recognize and celebrate individual and collective agency in cases when small wins are achieved and progress is made.  
3. Support people to remain actively engaged
  • Identify/prioritize what is most important to participants so that actions are meaningful to them.
  • Use framing or positioning the shared concern or desired change in ways that connect ‘hearts and minds’ to support the change as credible and meaningful.
  • Engage voting mechanisms, such as dot voting, to gauge components of the change such as relevance and impact. 
  • Chart a course to monitor achievements or challenges. 
  • Make sure the steps you take fit with the local culture.
  • Keep supporters up to date with regular communication.
4. Presence of social ties amongst participants
  • Focus on building connections and relationships with other change agents. Seek to be transparent, positive about the change, and trustworthy to strengthen social ties.
  • Ideally, bring people together face-to-face to build knowledge, supportive relationships and a shared purpose.
  • Recognize the power of an existing shared sense of identity among groups. Harness collective identity to support collective action, where it aligns with the goals of the social movement. 
  • Encourage change agents to act in solidarity with one another.  
  • Recognize the value of supportive allies and welcome them to join the social movement.
5. Resources (i.e., people and material resources)
  • People: Find other individuals, groups, and networks whose goals align with yours. Join forces to build a critical mass of supporters.
  • Material resources: Determine availability and accessibility of resources. If additional funds are needed to support the change initiative, seek organizational support. Consider the timing of requesting funds with organizational annual budgets.

SOURCES: Arnold et al., 2018; Casas-Cortés et al., 2008; del Castillo et al., 2016; Elsey, 1998; Kapilashrami et al., 2016; Herechuk et al., 2010; Waring & Crompton, 2017.