The Importance of Influence in Creating Positive Social Change

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Many researchers are attempting to gain knowledge about how to create social change, they are called social change researchers. Sometimes they actively participate in their research endeavors, while other times they view and analyze past research. Groups like the Rescue Social Research Group conduct research, develop strategies, and provide marketing services to organizations seeking positive social change. They use many different strategies in an attempt to actually change the behaviors of their target individuals. Other groups, organizations, and researchers are trying to figure out the answer to the question also; what factors influence positive social change?

Certain organizations simply have the power to create social change, but that can be both positive and negative. People also have conflicting ideas as to whether some of these groups should have the power to create social change. The government is probably the largest of the groups which obtain this power. They have the ability to make decisions about income, healthcare and education. (Klein, 2012). Therefore positive social change can be made by simply having the power to do so. In this situation, people are not persuading to change, they are in a sense being forced to. The other problem with this kind of change is that most individuals cant make the decision to hold this power. Therefore, there must be other ways that researchers have found to create positive social change in people.

One of best ways to do this is to influence people to want to make a change, thus creating an effect of positive social change. Currently, there is a lot of literature that exist on how, why and when the influence process works most effectively. The three components that effect this the most are social norms, conformity and compliance. Social norms are rules and standards that are well understood by members of a social group. Most people will comply to these standards without even making a conscious effect to. Usually, positive social behavior is rewarded, while negative social behavior is punished. Conformity often occurs when the majority of individual in a certain group act or feel a certain way. Compliance is the state or fact of according with the standards or commands. Basically some researchers believe that is an individual wants to create social change of any nature, they need to learn how to harness those three components of social influence.

Basically, social change can be made in both positive and negative ways. Regardless, it is a very powerful tool which can change the beliefs and the lives of individuals. Sometimes, the ability to create this change in simply placed in peoples hands due to the power they hold over people. Other times, social change can be made by learning how to influence people. Some researchers have found that the best and most effective components of influence are social norms, conformity and compliance. If one can learn how to control those influences, then they can begin to create social change. (Ciandini)


Cialdini, R. Social influence; social norms, conformity and compliance. Retrieved from

Klein, P. (2012, November 12). Moving beyond csr: The business of social change. Forbes, Retrieved from

Rescue Social Change Group - Inspiring Change. (n.d.). Rescue Social Change Group. Retrieved from

Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., & Coutts, L. M. (2012). Applied social psychology: Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Los Angeles: Sage.

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