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Progress Report on PROSOCIAL: A Practical Framework for Improving the Efficacy of Groups David Sloan Wilson President, Evolution Institute SUNY Distinguished Professor Binghamton University Feb 20 2014. Theme of ACBS XII: Using Contextual Behavioral Science for Large Scale Behavior Change.
• Integrating CBS with evolutionary theory is a giant step in this direction.
• This integration is in full swing.
• Entering a new phase through PROSOCIAL.
• PROSOCIAL is structured so that virtually any ACBS member can become involved.
• Workshop on PROSOCIAL will be held on Friday in the Grand Portage Ballroom (2:45-5:45).
• Binghamton Neighborhood Project (2006)
• Evolution Institute (2007)
• Expand evolutionary theory beyond the biological sciences to understand (basic science) and improve (applied science) the human condition.
We “discover” each other and start integrating Contextual Behavioral Science with evolutionary theory among ourselves.
• Elinor Ostrom received Nobel prize in economics in 2009 for showing that groups are capable of governing themselves—but only if they possess certain design principles.
• I work with Ostrom and Michael Cox to generalize the design principles approach from an evolutionary perspective.
• Wilson, D. S., & Gowdy, J. M. (2013). Evolution as a general theoretical framework for economics and public policy. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 90, S3–S10.
• Wilson, D. S., Ostrom, E., & Cox, M. E. (2013). Generalizing the core design principles for the efficacy of groups. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 90, S21–S32.
• Wilson, D. S., Hayes, S. C., Biglan, A., & Embry, D. (2014). Evolving the Future: Toward a Science of Intentional Change. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, in press.
• Target article with 24 commentaries and reply.
• #1 journal in the behavioral sciences.
• Impact factor 18.57
• For the first time, a unified theoretical perspective exists for attempting positive change at all scales, from individuals to the global village.
• Contextual Behavioral Science is central to the theoretical framework.
All groups whose members are trying to work together to achieve common goals are faced with a common set of problems.
• Coordinate appropriate action for the task at hand.
• Suppress disruptive self-serving behaviors within the group.
• Avoid interference and cultivate appropriate relations with other groups.
This is true for all social species, not just humans.
• Coordinate appropriate action for the task at hand (1,3).
• Suppress disruptive self-serving behaviors within the group (2-6).
• Avoid interference and cultivate appropriate relations with other groups (7-8).
• The core design principles are intuitive.
• Some groups adopt them without requiring coaching.
• Some change methods have converged upon them.
• Yet, they are sadly lacking from many groups and change methods.
• Conflicts of interest within the group.
• Conflicts of interest in the multi-group environment.
• Competing narratives (especially the Homo economicus narrative in business, economics, and international affairs).
• The design principles are a bit like the organs of your body. You need all of them and removing any one results in death, or at least a severely compromised group.
• Each design principle can be implemented in many ways.
• The best implementation is highly contextual.
• The design principles cannot be implemented in a cookie-cutter fashion.
• Expanding upon Ostrom’s method.
• Ostrom and her associates reviewed the literature on CPR groups around the world.
• Highly diffuse and mostly qualitative literature.
• Still able to estimate the performance of the groups in relation to the design principles.
• This can be repeated for other kinds of groups.
• Charter Schools
• Intentional communities
• Volunteer organizations
• An organization that certifies corporations for their social accountability.
• Conducts an extensive audit.
• Provides a database comparable to the one that Ostrom compiled for CPR groups.
• We are studying the performance of B Corps with respect to their internal social organization and the multi-group ecosystem that they inhabit.
• The design principles are equally relevant at both levels.
Roy Oakerson, trained under Ostrom
Cooperatively Owned Garden Center
• Design Principles Approach provides a blueprint for improving the efficacy of groups.
• Strong theoretical foundation.
• Accumulating empirical support.
• Relevant to nearly any group whose members must work together to achieve common goals.
• To make the design principles approach available to as many groups as possible worldwide.
• To create a scientific database from these groups to further improve our knowledge of group efficacy.
• A scientific database.
• An internet platform and network of facilitators that can potentially reach an unlimited number of groups.
• Tony Biglan
• Joseph Ciarrochi
• Steve Hayes
• Alan Honick (documentary filmmaker)
• Jerry Miller (ED of the Evolution Institute)
• Kevin Polk
• David Sloan Wilson
• Each group is expected to work with a facilitator.
• Anyone experienced at working with groups can serve as facilitator.
• We supply the specific training.
• ACT/RFT training especially useful as preparation.
• >6000 ACBS members could provide a worldwide network of PROSOCIAL facilitators right away.
• A new source of clients in addition to individual clients.
• Training manual and other training material completed.
• IRB approval obtained.
• Assembling a cohort of facilitators, drawn largely (but not entirely) from ACBS (N=28 and counting).
• Website created for the development team and coordinators to interact with each other, as the start of a multi-group internet platform.
• Ready to begin working with groups.
• Two sessions.
• First session devoted entirely to design principle 1 (strong group identity and understanding of purpose).
• Second session devoted to the other core design principles and auxiliary design principles.
• Why the imbalance? Because creating a strong group identity, clarifying the purpose of the group, and becoming mindful of things that get in the way are paramount.
• Most groups have an explicit purpose (e.g., to improve school performance, to create a park).
• Behind the explicit purpose is a set of more general values and goals.
• Moving in a valued direction is not always easy because of thoughts and emotions that get in the way.
• The same techniques that increase psychological flexibility and the selection of most valued behaviors in individuals can be employed in groups.
…and Auxiliary Design Priciples.
• Short term goals should be feasible and quantifiable.
• Entire process repeated at periodic intervals.
A method for accelerating change that is highly consistent with the design principle approach