Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Building Social Capital: Recommendations for the Movement

Four overall recommendations come out of this component of the Communications Capital Framework for this movement.

First, the movement needs to develop a strong group identity, which current and new members can ascribe to so that solidarity, social norms and trust within the movement can be achieved.

Second, movement members need to be self and movement reflective so that the movement does not become too insular and exclusionary of potential new members.

Third, movement members need to become adept at building relationships with others. This means that movement members need to develop skill sets around and capacity for rapport building, negotiation and dialogue, conflict resolution and problem solving within the movement and between movement members and outside parties.

Finally, movement members should consider consciously developing and utilizing social relationships for the benefit of the movement. Each member has the potential to build the social ties, which could advance the movement and should make an effort to increase these ties. Priority for expanding the social network would be with those in positions of power and influence. Thought leaders, government employees, artists, technicians etc would all contribute valuable assets to the movement.

6 Specific Recommendations below focus on actions to build social capital but also improve group culture conditions so that outside members feel comfortable creating ties with movement members and contributing to movement goals.

1. Each organization should support and participate actively in the development and betterment of the BC Working Group and Network on Sustainability Education as a representative of the movement and central focus of political and symbolic power.

2. Support and utilize the WalkingtheTalk social networking and information sharing website

3. Increase the knowledge base within the movement on social capital theory for better utilization of the collective social capital in relation to movement networks and ties.

4. Include in training and education sessions, information on relationship building, interpersonal communication, dialogue and negotiation skills

5. Offer as many opportunities for movement members to meet face-face for planning initiatives so that stronger more meaningful relationships are built. This will increase the likelihood that movement members will work together and new members or other citizens not part of the movement can be included, further building potential social ties and the related social capital

6. Conduct an assessment of the internal culture of the movement and it’s potential barriers to outsiders. Have all members consider carefully the rhetoric and language used to describe the movement and it’s goals and review how this framing of the movement might attract or detract potential new movement members

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