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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.

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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 UniversityFeb 20 2014

theme of acbs xii using contextual behavioral science for large scale behavior change
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).

background
Background

• 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.

background cont
Background (cont.)

Tony Biglan

Dennis Embry

Steve Hayes

We “discover” each other and start integrating Contextual Behavioral Science with evolutionary theory among ourselves.

background cont1
Background (cont.)

• 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.

academic publications
Academic Publications

• 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.

academic publications1
Academic Publications

• 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

capturing the intellectual high ground
Capturing the Intellectual High Ground

• 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.

cbs et connections
CBS-ET Connections
  • CBS focus on functional contextualismET focus on adaptation to environment.
  • ACT focus on increasing psychological flexibility and committed action ET focus on variation and selection.
  • RFT focus on symbolic systems ET focus on symbolic thought as an inheritance system.
added value
Added value
  • ACT and RFT help evolutionary theory become less gene-centric.
  • ET concepts such as Tinbergen’s four questions, multilevel selection theory, and gene-culture co-evolution relatively new to CBS.
making groups work
Making Groups Work

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.

core design principles derived by elinor ostrom for common pool resource groups
Core Design Principles Derived by Elinor Ostrom for Common-Pool Resource Groups
  • Strong group identity and purpose
  • Proportional equivalence of costs and benefits
  • Consensus decision making
  • Monitoring
  • Graduated sanctions
  • Fast, fair conflict resolution
  • Local autonomy
  • Polycentric governance among groups
generalizing the core design principles
Generalizing the Core Design Principles
  • Strong group identity and purpose
  • Proportional equivalence of costs and benefits
  • Consensus decision making
  • Monitoring
  • Graduated sanctions
  • Fast, fair conflict resolution
  • Local autonomy
  • Polycentric governance among groups

• 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).

some observations
Some observations

• 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.

why don t more groups employ the design principles
Why don’t more groups employ the design principles?

• 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).

more observations
More observations

• 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.

evidence for the efficacy of the design principles approach
Evidence for the Efficacy of the Design Principles Approach

• Expanding upon Ostrom’s method.

• Implementations.

expanding upon ostrom s method
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.

• Businesses

• Charter Schools

• Neighborhoods

• Intentional communities

• Volunteer organizations

• Nations

b lab
B Lab

• 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.

interventions the school social environment
Interventions: The School Social Environment
  • Strong group identity and purpose
  • Proportional equivalence of costs and benefits
  • Consensus decision making
  • Monitoring
  • Graduated sanctions
  • Fast, fair conflict resolution
  • Local autonomy
  • Polycentric governance among groups
richmond ave neighborhood buffalo ny
Richmond Ave Neighborhood, Buffalo NY

Roy Oakerson, trained under Ostrom

richmond ave neighborhood buffalo ny1
Richmond Ave Neighborhood, Buffalo NY

Cooperatively Owned Garden Center

interim summary
Interim Summary

• 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.

the next challenge
The Next Challenge

• 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.

slide34
• A practical framework for improving the efficacy of groups.

• A scientific database.

• An internet platform and network of facilitators that can potentially reach an unlimited number of groups.

the development team
The Development Team

• Tony Biglan

• Joseph Ciarrochi

• Steve Hayes

• Alan Honick (documentary filmmaker)

• Jerry Miller (ED of the Evolution Institute)

• Kevin Polk

• David Sloan Wilson

group facilitators
Group Facilitators

• 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.

current status of the project
Current Status of the Project

• 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.

how the design principles are introduced to the groups
How the design principles are introduced to the 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.

act and the first design principle
ACT and the first design principle

• 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.

slide43

The Other Core Design Principles…

…and Auxiliary Design Priciples.

slide45

Formulating Short Term Goals

• Short term goals should be feasible and quantifiable.

• Entire process repeated at periodic intervals.

slide46

The Rapid Results Method

A method for accelerating change that is highly consistent with the design principle approach

outputs for the database
Outputs for the Database
  • Form 1:  Group description and demographics.
  • Form 2:  Words and phrases invoked by discussion of the Matrix.
  • Form 3:  Facilitator report on discussion of the Matrix.
  • Form 4:  Ratings by group members of the core and auxiliary design principles.
  • Form 5:  Ratings by the facilitator of the core and auxiliary design principles.
  • Form 6:  List of short-term actionable goals with outcomes as measurable as possible.
  • Form 7:  Minutes of group meetings, including attendance.
  • Form 8:  Psychological flexibility survey.
documentary output
Documentary Output
  • For training purposes.
  • Full-length documentary in mind.
  • To allow groups to chronicle their progress in their own words and images, in addition to hard numbers.

Alan Honick

becoming involved
Becoming involved…
  • Any ACBS member can become trained as a PROSOCIAL Facilitator.
  • Can join the cohort of facilitators test-driving the method during its current phase.
  • The same energy and growth that infuses ACBS can infuse PROSOCIAL.
  • Attend the workshop tomorrow at 2:45 in this room for more.
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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 UniversityFeb 20 2014