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Chapter 4

PSYC 3600 Chapter 4: Chapter 4 – The importance of social change.docx

Course Code
PSYC 3600
Diane Lawless

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Chapter 4 – The importance of social change
Waltzlawick, Weakland, et al believed there are two types of change: “one that occurs
within a given system which itself remains unchanged and one whose occurance
changes the system itself”.
oThey believed that second order change brought about systems change
These two types of change have been called first order change and second order
First order change may describe an individuals alteration of typical behavior within
a system such as a family
oEx: a mother may choose to ignore her two year old son who is throwing a
temper tantrum because he wants candy at the grocery store. If the typical
interaction of this mother and child is that the childs tantrum results in
him getting candy, probably because his mother is embarrassed and wants
him to stop, one can see how ignoring his crying is a type of behavior
change. Moms new ignoring behavior, the first order change, is likely the
only change we would see in this interaction.
When the system is no longer characterized by the son acting out and the mother
giving in, one could conclude that second order change has occurred. Second order
change requires the innovator to step outside his or her basic assumptive world and
think and act in creative ways. Second order change requires the change agent to have
sufficient perspective taking ability to perceive the existing problem in its entirety and
to come to a solution.
Maton and Perkins all call for social change consideration to a multidisciplinary
Among the reasons for change all of the following are possible: diverse populations,
perception of declining resources, community conflict
Maton believes most attempts at social change are limited by resources
Homogenous populations are unlikely to cause pressure for social change
Reasons for Social Change
Diverse populations
The growing population of the elderly as well as disabled, the unemployed and
the influx of new immigrants into our country is an example of how diverse
populations create the need for dramatic social changes and new community
oFor ex: many elderly people and those with disabilities don’t vote because
of transportation costs and other factors. This creates a added problem that
individuals who ought to voice their political opinions on nutrition, health
care, housing and other programs do not go to the polls.
Special populations cause changes in society and create more social change by
virtue of either their swelling ranks or special situations

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oBaby boomers are approaching older adulthood. This trend may mean that
communities will need to provide more resources for the elderly than they
have had to in the past.
Lawsuit resulting in Brown v. Board of Education deceision has been brought by
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The court
finding for Brown was pivotal in opening opportunities for many groups who had
previously been excluded from mainstream activity.
Social Justice: A more Imperative for social Change
One of the implications of changes in population trends, such as influx of
immigrants, is not only that societal demographics change but that the needs and
values of such groups must be integrated into the fabric of our democracy. This is
illustrated in Brown v. board of education case. Cases such as these are excellent
illustrations of how over history, the status quo or how things have always been
done must be revisited if we are to have a socially just society and a bona fide
Albee was a prominent psychologist who confronted the field of psychology
about its values or apparent lack thereof and as a result its position on social
As Young described, the status quo in the U.S and many parts of the world is to
use marginalization to disempower large segments of the population, which
results in nondemocratic decision making. So, if psychology as field was
unwilling to take a stand on marginalization, it was undeniably complicit in
supporting its existence. This was the heart of Albees criticism of the field.
One of the reasons that community psychologists are involved in social change is
the value we see in social justice. Valuing social justice requires us to be
committed to changing processes and policies in our society that results in
injustice or inequities. If some children are receiving better education that others
because of their socioeconomic background, social change is needed.
It is the inequity itself that is the rationale for social change when one values
social justice. The inequity is the signal that social injustice exists and social
change is required. Promoting and protecting socially just policies and processes
are critical to maintain social justice.
The perception of Declining or Scarce Resources
Scarcity results in changing social dynamics with increasing competition for these
resources. This issue not only affects individuals and families, it affects
community centers, public education, free health clinics, and many other services
that are funded by outside sources such as government funding, grants, private
donations or corporate underwriting.
Most attempts to create social change are limited by lack of funding and other
resources. External funding for community services is typically awarded for a
limited amount of time
New programs therefore compete with older programs for limited pools of money.

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Both the federal government and local governments have provided less funding
for human services than in the past, thereby creating a sort of “robin hood in
reverse” effect
Because government funding for community services is decreasing, there is more
pressure on other granting institutions, such as private foundations.
Although some agencies charge fees to clients for their services as one revenue
stream for their organization, many are reluctant to become dependent on client
fees, because such fees also fluctuate depending on caseload and other factors
such as the resources of the clients themselves. Even agencies that charge clients
on a sliding scale( where fees are tied to income and or number of dependents)
are reluctant to increase charges to their most financially needy clients
oSome social agenices use sliding scale. In a sliding fee scale, fees are tied
to income of clients
oAn example of sliding scale: charging lower class clients $10 and middle
class $25 for consultation at a family planning clinic
CASE IN POINT 4.1: Funding Dilemmas for Nonprofit Organizations
Today there are 57000 such foundations and corporate donors that offer 246000
different grants. These grants are available in the areas of social services, arts and
sciences, protection of democracy, support for vulnerable and needy populations,
care for victims of natural disasters, health care, and education
The leading issue in terms of growth is peace and international affairs which grew
by a whopping 72.5%
Closer examination shows that money is not evenly disturbed among all non
profit organizations
DeVitas study showed that although most nonprofit groups are quite small, the
largest organizations obtain the bulk of the finances
Small organizations with expenses of less than $100,000 accounted for 42% of
the organizations, whereas organizations with total expenses of over $10 million
accounted for only 4% of charities.
An anti vandalism program in a large school district cost $50,000 but vandalism
was only reduced by about $27000 this program is not cost effective.
Accountability is the obligation to account for or be responsible for various
transactions, monetary or otherwise
In times of scarce funding, it is especially fair and reasonable to ask for
accountability from both new and continuing community programs.
Cost effectiveness means that money should be spent wisely—there should be
some return or profit on money expended. Cost effectiveness often refers to
money; accountability can refer to such matters as time expended and quality of
decisions made.
Who request accountability? Almost anyone today: clients, staff, administers,
taxpayers. They want to know answers to: Where was my money spent? Did the
targeted population benefit? Were goals accomplished and if not, why not?
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