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|
Senior Lecturer, Marketing, University of Auckland, Auckland, Auckalnd, New Zealand
Senior Research Manager, Christchurch, New Zealand
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