British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote that "the only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation." Cultivating collaborations - an SJN Success Factor category - is a key component of many successful interventions in social and environmental problems. These solutions feature social entrepreneurs acting as change agents by enrolling multiple stakeholders in collaboration or collective action.
What sparks collective action? One theory - the Social Identity Model of Collective Action (SIMCA) - posits that three specific motivating factors lead to collective action: a strong group identity, ongoing experience with injustice/anger, and belief in personal efficacy. Regardless of what initiates the collaboration, however, we know that we achieve more when we overcome “us versus them” thinking and work together. In these stories about collective action, each effort brings together players who would not otherwise be in contact. From partnering hotel chains and housing advocates to connecting conservation advocates with government offices, these solutions depend on coordinating many actors to achieve success. On a macro level, collaboration-driven projects might bring together the private sector, government, and NGOs; on a local level, they might be as simple as uniting teachers, counselors, and parents to help students grow.
Click here to explore more stories about collective action in the Story Tracker!
- What features made the public-private partnership described in the story on homelessness in Santa Fe possible? How did each party benefit? What, if anything, held the project back?
- Choose one of the stories within the collection and analyze the collective action it describes through the lens of the Social Identity Model of Collective Action.
- What allowed cooperative restaurants like Red Emma's in Baltimore to weather the COVID-19 pandemic more effectively than typical restaurants?
- How might you implement the lessons learned from these approaches to collaborative solutions within your own community?
- Journalism is a collaborative practice: reporters are writing for their community, but they also depend on community members as sources for information. Indeed, the very purpose of journalism, according to the American Press Institute, is to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments. With that in mind, SJN wants to help connect news readers and journalists. Beside the name of the journalist on any of our story pages or the results page of the Solutions Story Tracker, you’ll find a Twitter icon that will link you directly to the journalists profile. Tweet at them with questions or compliments about their piece - you might be surprised by how much writers want to engage with their audiences! Don’t forget to tag us too (@soljourno) and use the hashtag #journalistintheclassroom if you are reading as part of an academic assignment.