Achieving more Effective Social Marketing: Putting the Social Back into Systems Theory

By Denise M. Conroy and Will Allen.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Social systems have long been explored, researched and investigated in an effort to discern, amongst other things, how behaviour can be changed to encourage more sustainable practices. However, it is our contention that prior research has concentrated too heavily on the ‘systems’ part of this equation, thereby marginalising its social aspects.

Our own research suggests that excellent work already exists which both teases out and models social behaviour; and yet these behaviour models are rarely applied to our understanding of sustainable behaviour change. We suggest that by considering such systems as primarily social, better outcomes are more likely to be achieved. In viewing systems as social, we differentiate between simple, complex, and complicated systems and we use this model to illustrate why interventions that are successful in one situation, are not necessarily successful in another.

We conclude by offering insights with respect to what social science can offer change programmes in the area of sustainability and how social marketing can contribute to this effort.

Keywords: Social Systems, Social Marketing, Sustainable Behaviour, Change

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 833.183KB).

Dr. Denise M. Conroy

Senior Lecturer, Marketing, University of Auckland, Auckland, Auckalnd, New Zealand

Dr Denise Conroy is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Marketing at the University of Auckland. Denise applies her expertise in identity, change and communication to a range of research interests centred around sustainabiltiy. These include the impact of anti-consumption on brand identity, the achievement of change through social networks and social media, and identification of the barriers and enhancers to sustainable initiatives.

Dr. Will Allen

Senior Research Manager, Christchurch, New Zealand


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