You are on page 1of 6

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND PROCESS OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Social development occurs slowly over time. It is mostly an unconscious phenomenon that occurs on an irregular basis, with zigs and zags, with forward motions and setbacks. On the other hand, if one were to discover the process of how social development occurs, and utilize this process in developing policies, strategies, and action plans for society, we could eliminate the irregularities and meanderings of social development, eliminate the negatives that block its path, and more positively control its ever accelerating course.

Defining Development
First let's be clear about what we actually mean by "development." Development can be distinguished from a closely related term, "growth." Just like development, growth is a form of progress, yet development is of a higher order. Think of growth as an expansion of more of the same, whereas development is an expansion at a higher level. Whereas growth is an expansion at the current level, development is an expansion at a new, unprecedented level. For example, in business we might think of growth as a duplication of a retail store model into dozens of franchise operations; whereas development was the actual development of the franchise concept in the first place. Development is more of a movement to a higher qualitative level, whereas growth is a quantitative movement. In the broadest sense development can be defined as an upward directional movement of society from lesser to greater levels of energy, efficiency, quality, productivity, complexity, comprehension, creativity, enjoyment and accomplishment.

Making Development Conscious
As we mentioned earlier development is a mostly unconscious movement that happens on its own. However, if we were able to understand the process, make it conscious in our minds, and act from this awareness we can dramatically accelerate development, and pave the way for society's progress. In other words, the more conscious we are of the process, the greater the possibility for rapid, obstacle-free progress. (By the way we have discovered along the way that whenever any initiative in life, whether personal or social begins with a conscious awareness of an underlying process, it dramatically increases the likelihood of successful outcomes.)

Awareness The surplus energy expresses initially in society as increasing thought and discussion about new possibilities. or move toward industrialization. and integrated in society. the importance of the awareness of . Finally. as are companies and other organizations that are expanding very rapidly (such as those in Silicon Valley). In the first stage the society is prepared to move to a higher level of development through its surplus energies. and has a surplus of energy to move to another level. A society can grow so long as it has the energy to do so. and growing dissatisfaction with the status quo. and its aspiration to see the possibilities through. Most importantly it expresses through society's awareness of new opportunities and challenges. Whether it be the world's 60. Stage 1: Social Preparedness Energy One way a society can be measured is by its level of energy. awareness of possibilities. Surplus energy is available only when the society is not fully absorbed in meeting the challenges of existence at the current level.000 newspapers or Gorbachev's policy of glasnost at the end of the Cold War (i. Let's then understand each of these three phases in greater detail. However it can't begin to develop until it has a surplus of energy. An example of this in history would be cultures that have developed their agriculture to the point where they are ready to explore trading opportunities with others.Three Stages of Development Our research on the process of development over the last thirty years suggest that there are three essential stages in the process of development. in the third stage the initiative of pioneering individuals are accepted. New ideas and technology are also symptomatic of surplus energy. The speed and reliability of information in recent years is accelerating society's awareness of possibilities. openness to new ideas). an urge for innovation and improvement. In the second stage pioneer individuals in society express the aspiration in various ways. organized.e.

Aspiration Surplus energy provides the fuel for progress and society's awareness of possibilities sets the direction for progress.i. Societies may also not have an aspiration to move forward because they think it's beyond their means and capabilities. so society needs to have an aspiration for achieving the possibilities and opportunities if development is ever to actually occur.Role of Pioneer Individuals Though the society may be prepared for its ascent to a higher level of development. If feelings of superiority or inadequacy prevent or dull aspiration for a society. Just as an individual who wants to achieve something needs to have an aspiration when presented with possibilities and opportunities. social pressure from others or the outside can be a great spur to aspiration. An example of the latter is a country that is forced to change by the sheer influence of another as in the case of the reaction of Americans who in the 1980s saw the Japanese begin to move ahead in major industrial areas. there still needs to be some agent to express this in action.possibilities is the driving force that can turn the surplus energy in society into a new reality for development. They . or self satisfied are less likely to want to move to the next higher level. A classic example of the former is the farmer who will only dig a well only after he sees that others around him have already done so. That is the role of pioneering individuals. and aspiration for advancement are pre-conditions that prepare society for new development initiatives. Though this is not exactly a linear process and these factors may tend to spiral back on one other. For one. other societal attitudes can increase aspiration. Stage 2: Initiation -. In summary then we can say that surplus energy. societies that feel superior. awareness of opportunities. Aspiration to go to a higher level can be retarded by some factors and increased by others. Still the society needs to react to these possibilities -. it needs to have an aspiration to really want to see these possibilities come about.e. For example. they are the required conditions that need to be in place so that there is the necessary social preparedness for development.

or piranha in society. Next the society needs to have a positive response to the pioneer's initiative. setting the stage for a whole new level of technology. For example. The pioneer is usually not a radical. knowing how to create the appropriate conditions for unleashing the multiplier effect off of the pioneer individual's initiative is essential for formulating effective planned development strategies. outcast. development begins to ripple through the village and community. not outside of the social environment. but rather shares its aspirations. etc. charting a new course or revealing a new possibility. Then the pioneer's initiatives get multiplied throughout society. Stage 3: Acceptance and Assimilation Finally. the pioneer breaks with the mold. they were inspired to follow. planners.). society will often act negatively or with indifference.are people who are willing to break out from the existing mold and try something new. educators. if other like-minded farmers in rural India take up the pioneer's acceptance of loans to dig water wells. it inspires others to take up the same or newer initiatives. or the one farmer among others who dares to accept a loan to dig water wells in rural India when others are afraid to be the first ones. . developing related or even new technologies as a result. the initiatives of the pioneer needs to become fully accepted and organized by society as a whole. Whether it be the two young men who helped start Apple Computer in a garage. knowledge and values to a large degree. For those involved in their occupation in social development (economists. unleashing a movement of development. Through their conscious action.) On the other hand. they express some aspect of the aspirations that the society is only partially or subconsciously aware of. yet stands within. if the pioneer's initiative is in tune with society's aspiration and preparedness. politicians. When other hackers saw Apple Computers first personal computers demonstrated at the Homebrew computer club. If the pioneer is too far ahead of his time.

but too many of the old ones that were essential for a stable transition to the free market system were dismantled. new types of contracts and relationships with service providers. When the countries of Eastern Europe began the transition from centrally planned to market economies. Now with the advent of the Internet whole new organizational structures are being developed to support the initiatives of those who originally brought the Internet into the public consciousness. and accepted sets of practices. such as franchising. Society normally organizes life by laws. Education One form of organization for the undertaking's of society that is nearly universally acknowledge is education. What is particularly interesting is that the pioneer's initiative which creates the spark for development actually leads to the emergence of a host of new. systems. Lack of Organization Often there are instances where a pioneer's initiative is not matched by new organizational structures. in the last fifty years we have seen a number of pioneering initiatives in society that were then matched by new organizational structures.Acceptance Through New Forms of Organization Acceptance begins when the pioneer's initiative is incorporated within existing or new organizational structures in society. they lacked a very wide range of supporting structures and practices needed for a market system to operate effectively. leading to an arid environment for the sprouting of a market-driven economy. When the society is really serious about supporting the new development it begins to provide formal education in areas related to the initiative. credit rating. and many others. and endless others. more complex organizations designed to support it and puts pressure on existing organizations to elevate their functioning to meet the higher demands of the new phase. In Russia's case not only weren't there any new organizational structures to help it in its transition. including ways to register web site domains. Russia in particular has suffered from this problem. causing development to fail. ATM banking services. For example. credit card. regulations. For example. new forms of business to business commerce. we have seen a .

. families assume an increasing role in equipping the next generation with knowledge. Institutionalized At a further stage. Once a new activity has been accepted as desirable by wide sections of the population.e. skills and attitudes supportive of the activity. When an activity has matured to the point that family plays a very active role in its transmission. the family assumes an active role in its propagation. It matures from organization to institutionalization Cultural Transmission by Family At an even more advanced stage in the maturation of a new social activity. it becomes a way of life. The activity becomes a part of the normal way the society functions.tremendous amount of formal education and training in recent years in the areas of personal computing and the Internet. i. policies or laws to promote it. the society accepts and assimilates the new undertakings to such a degree that it no longer requires the support of specialized organizations. the activity has become a part of the culture of the society.