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Third-Order Change As a Systems Theory for Community Psychology



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Third-Order Change As a Systems Theory for Community Psychology

  1. 1. Third-Order Change As a Systems Theory for Community Psychology American Psychological Association Christopher Beasley, PhD, MA 2016 COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT RESEARCH TEAM
  2. 2. • Objects & Environments – Relationship between elements • 3rd order change as systems theory – Interaction between communities & paradigms in which problems are embedded Systems Theory Von Bertalanffy, 1968
  3. 3. • Reducing stagnation • Anticipation & reaction to changes – Changing environment – Uncertainty • Stereotypes & biases • Power disparities Why 3rd Order Change Bartunek & Moch, 1994
  4. 4. • Nature of schemas in organizational change – Assumptions of cause & effect • 1st Order – Schematically Concordant • 2nd Order – Schematically Disconcordant • 3rd Order – Aschematic – Paradigms Orders of Change Watzlawick et al., 1974
  5. 5. • Change that relies on established paradigms – Usually centered on deficits and problems – Often a reaction to immediate problems – Leave social structures & cultures in place • Incremental adjustments to individuals & settings 1st Order Change Watzlawick, Weakland, & Fisch, 1974
  6. 6. • Crime – People do not have control • People must be controlled – Greater enforcement/enforcers needed 1st Order Change Example
  7. 7. • Advantages – Simple & familiar • Address known problems in expected ways • Limited in scope, thereby fostering efficiency • Disadvantages – Short-term solutions to symptoms – May create problems in other parts of the system Pros & Cons of 1st Order Change Robinson, Brown, Beasley, & Jason, 2015
  8. 8. • Change that alters the social context/paradigms • Valued in community psychology • Longer-term distal problem focus – Often prevention-focused 2nd Order Change Watzlawick et al., 1974
  9. 9. • Crime – People predisposed to good – Maldevelopment leads to antisocial behavior – Intervention can insure healthy development • Thus reducing crime 2nd Order Change Example
  10. 10. • Advantages – Alters systems & structural causes of problems. • Change objectives, roles, and the general nature of power • Can address problematic ideas, structures, & systems – Opportunity for more comprehensive & longer-term solutions • Potential for creative & innovative solutions to entrenched system-level problems • Can reduce stigma toward individuals not functioning well in the system Pros & Cons of 2nd Order Change Seidman, 1988; Watzlawick et al., 1974
  11. 11. • Disadvantages – May not offer immediate relief – Often conflicts w/ accepted paradigms • Stakeholder objections & confusion • Limited support – Empirical validation – Operationalization, goals, & measurement – Funding • Typically lack manualized guides – Complicates implementation, replication, and adaptation – Ethical dilemmas • Can weaken settings and their autonomy if not participatory • New problems may surface with new systems Pros & Cons of 2nd Order Change Watzlawick et al., 1974
  12. 12. • Awareness & ability to change schemata • Essential shift in the social fabric – Alter fundamental culture in which people, systems, & structures are embedded – Challenges paradigms & practices, developing culture • Continually questioning • Constantly identifying problems & social precipitants • Implementing solutions • Ongoing process and outcome evaluations • Ongoing critique of problems & ecological causes 3rd Order Change Bartunek & Moch, 1987
  13. 13. • Crime – Human tendencies may not be consistently good or bad • Some people may have greater self-control while others may not – Causes of crime are multi-faceted and may vary based on context • Situation will need to be assessed to develop appropriate means of addressing problem 3rd Order Change Example
  14. 14. • Advantages – 2nd order change advantages – Setting flexibility • Can become more flexible, adaptable, & innovative – Autonomy • Potentially greater autonomy through internal awareness, problem-solving, and reflexive action – Sustainability • Autonomy, flexibility, and sustained questions • Can identify and address future problems Pros & Cons of 3rd Order Change Robinson, Brown, Beasley, & Jason, 2015
  15. 15. • Disadvantages – 2nd order change disadvantages – Cognitive dissonance • Discomfort expected as paradigms continually questioned – Uncertainty • May make outcomes less certain • Stakeholders may feel uncomfortable • May be less attractive to external funding Pros & Cons of 3rd Order Change Bartunek & Moch, 1994; Robinson, Brown, Beasley, & Jason, 2015
  16. 16. • Series of 2nd order changes – Use differences in perspectives as a starting point – Build informal structures to enable operation from diverse perspectives – Expose members to experiences in various cultural settings • Diffusion of key stakeholder experiences to others 3rd Order Organization Change Bartunek & Moch, 1994; Bartunek et al., 1983; Cox, 1991; Mirvis, 1990
  17. 17. • Community psychology & other fields have not framed community intervention as 3rd order change – Critical consciousness • Can promote questioning of existing structures and schemas – Capacity building for self-sustained action & change • May broaden perspectives on community problems & solutions • May broaden resources available to address problems – Reflexivity • Opportunity for continual examination of factors – Processes of change – Emerging ecological shifts 3rd Order Community Change Robinson, Brown, Beasley, & Jason, 2015
  18. 18. • Critical Consciousness – Awareness of problem-related systems, structures, & beliefs – Watts’ stages of sociopolitical development • Unaware of system inconsistencies & dysfunction • See inconsistencies but feel powerless to change structures • Question value of adapting to dysfunctional system – Learning more about the system – Learning more about what maintains dysfunctions • Act on critical awareness to change the system – Building capacity for collective action 3rd Order Community Change Watts, Griffith, & Abdul-Adil, 1999; Watts, Williams, & Jagers, 2003
  19. 19. • Critical Consciousness – Communities may collectively • Gain awareness • Process feelings of powerlessness • Question importance of adapting • Learn about systems constraining them • Act to change systems 3rd Order Community Change Watts, Griffith, & Abdul-Adil, 1999; Watts, Williams, & Jagers, 2003
  20. 20. • Grounded Theory – Post-modern – Interactionist – Localized/contexualized – Democratized knowledge • Situational Analysis – Analysis of elements in the situation – Relationship b/t elements in the situation – Analysis of elements of the social world in which situation is taking place – Commitments, views, & actions of elements in social world – Positions on discursive issues 3rd Order Community Change Clarke, 2005
  21. 21. • Capacity Building – Communities that Care (CTC) • Developing prevention interventions • Providing resources • Promoting local stakeholder support & ownership – Five-phase process • Assessing community readiness • Forming local coalition • Conducting needs assessment • Selecting evidence-based interventions • Implementing & evaluating intervention 3rd Order Community Change Hawkins & Catalano, 1992
  22. 22. • Reflexivity – Encourage ongoing dialogue • Actions, progress, & outcomes • Potential need to change structures again – If intended outcomes are not achieved – If ecology changes such that structure is no longer appropriate – Grounded theory w/ situational analysis 3rd Order Community Change Robinson, Brown, Beasley, & Jason, 2015
  23. 23. • 3rd Order Goal – Innovative & adaptive systems & structures that are sustainable through self-renewal • 3rd Order Objectives – Fundamental paradigm shift toward social awareness, evaluation, & action – Culture of continual questioning Summary Robinson, Brown, Beasley, & Jason, 2015
  24. 24. • 3rd Order Processes – Critical consciousness – Capacity building – Reflexivity • 3rd Order Methods – Sociopolitical development – Grounded theory w/ situational analysis – Capacity building Summary Robinson, Brown, Beasley, & Jason, 2015
  25. 25. • Development – Theory • 3rd order community change • 3rd order community design – Logic Model – Evaluation Methods – Instruments – Intervention • Evaluation – When Best Moving Forward
  26. 26. Bartunek, J. M., Gordon, J. R., & Weathersby, R. P. (1983). Developing “complicated” understanding in administrators. Academy of Management Review, 8(2), 273-284. Bartunek, J. M., & Moch, M. K. (1987). First-order, second-order, and third-order change and organization development interventions: A cognitive approach. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 23(4), 483-500. Bartunek, J. M., & Moch, M. K. (1994). Third-order organizational change and the western mystical tradition. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 7(1), 24-41. Clarke, A. (2005). Situational analysis: Grounded theory after the postmodern turn. Sage. Cox Jr, T. (1991). The multicultural organization. The executive, 34-47. Hawkins, J. D., & Catalano, R. F. (1992). Communities that care. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Mirvis, P. H. (1990). Organizational development: Part II – A revolutionary perspective. In W. A. Pasmore & R. W. Woodman (Eds), Research in Organizational Change & Development, Vol. 4, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Robinson, W. L., Brown, M., Beasley, C. R., & Jason, L.A. (2014). Advancing Prevention Intervention from Theory to Application: Challenges and Contributions of Community Psychology. In M.A. Bond, C. Keys, & I. Serrano-García (Eds.). Handbook of Community Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Seidman, E. (1988). Back to the future, community psychology: Unfolding a theory of social intervention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 16, 3-24. doi:10.1007/BF00906069 Von Bertalanffy, L. (1968). General systems theory. In D. Hammond (Ed), The science of synthesis: Exploring the social implications of general systems theory. New York, 41973, 40. Watts, R. J., Griffith, D. M., & Abdul-Adil, J. (1999). Sociopolitical Development as an Antidote for Oppression-Theory and Action, American Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 255–271. doi:10.1023/A:1022839818873 Watts, R. J., Williams, N. C., & Jagers, R. J. (2003). Sociopolitical development. American Journal of Community Psychology, 31, 185–94. doi:10.1023/A:1023091024140 Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J. H., & Fisch, R. (1974). Change: Principles of problem formation and problem resolution. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. References


  • Should add psychology into this section and do Bio-Psycho-Social
  • Child and youth care practitioners may find it useful to clarify for themselves whether they deal with developmental change of first- or second-order (Maier, 1984; Watzlawick, Weakland & Rich, 1974, pp. 10-11). An analogy would be water becoming warmer or colder; this is a first-order change. Water turning into ice or steam constitutes a second-order change. First-order change is incremental, a linear progression to do more or less, better, faster, or with greater accuracy. Practice, reinforcement, and time will be the most likely approaches for facilitating sound developmental change of this kind. Activities are tangible, usually verbal interactions between the caregiver and the young person involved.
    Second-order change, on the other hand, involves a nonlinear progression, a transformation from one state to another. The aim would be to enable the individual to behave, think, or feel differently. Within the second-order change approach, applicable practice tools might be modeling, confrontation, conflict work, refraining and, most important, the introduction of decisively different personal experience over time. Second-order change requires greater creativity and prolonged investment of time and contact by caregiver and receiver (Maier, 1984). A crucial task of care workers is to be clear as to which order of change they are striving to create. Typically, residential care and treatment work calls for second order change, since it demands substantial intervention and leads to transformational new learning.
    Maier, H.W. (1987) Developmental group care of children and youth: Concepts and practice. New York: Haworth. p. 17
  • Continuous Change
    Organizational Adaptive Capacity
    Improvising, Translating, & Learning Organizations
    Weisbord’s (1978) Six-Box Model for organizational diagnosis that examines
    Purpose, structure, relationships, rewards, leadership & helpful mechanisms within organizations,
    external context.
    Block and Markowitz’s (2001) work which suggests mechanisms for decentralizing power, idea generation, and decision-making.
    Critical Consciousness
    Train Trainer
    Diffusion of Innovation
    Empowerment Evaluation
    Grounded theory
    Situational analysis
    Capacity Building

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