Our measurement tool is informed by an understanding of different models of social change (specifically stages of change and diffusion) and our own V4C theory of change; and by current levels of knowledge on measurement of both individual and society-wide change. We cannot know whether to expect a long period of preparation followed by a relatively quick change in behaviour, or a gradual and steady change over time. We must allow for the fact that change may happen because an individual sees the value in doing so (attitude change before action), or because individuals believe that this is how others now expect them to behave (behavior change before attitude). Our measurement tool must capture these different pathways of change. The tool harmonises measurements of personal and social norms. We have identified two pathways for behaviour change:
- One pathway (attitude change then action – willing abandonment) can apply to both personal and social norms
- The other pathway (behaviour change before attitude change – reluctant practitioner) is unique to social norms.
By measuring both the current attitudes and the actions of individuals, we can monitor progress towards the goal of willing (and sustainable) abandonment of negative norms and benchmark our performance, regardless of the change pathway.
The tool plots changes in attitude from old to new on one axis and changes in behaviour from old to new practice on the other – giving a two by two grid for changes in both personal and social norms.
Knowledge about social norms issues plays a role in shifting attitudes. For social norms, this also includes knowledge about others’ beliefs and expectations.