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Social Research Digest - July 2012


The report by Walden University provides a diverse global perspective on why adults engage in social change and the roles individuals, nonprofit organizations, government, and the media play in facilitating it. The annual Social Change Impact Report desribes findings from a survey among more than 8,900 adults in eight countries.

Key Findings

  • Global economic conditions impact the ways in which people become involved in social change and their motivations for doing so.
  • Economic conditions cause behaviours to change.
  • On average 65% of adults agree it is more important to be involved in social change when economic conditions are poor.
  • Half of adults surveyed participate in social change by donating money; however 37% reduce their donations during difficult economic times.
  • Instead, 29% are likely to increase participation in volunteer work.
  • On average, 60% of adults become involved through institutions, companies or organisations and 48% through digital technology.
  • In China this figure is 72%.
  • Non-profit organisations rank among the top two participation methods in all countries except Jordan where adults act individually or through a religious organisation.
  • However, 59% agree individuals are the most important agent of social change.
  • An average 57% agree they can act to make the world a better place.
  • Respondents in all countries agree the media is biased in its reporting of social issues – 57% on average and 71% in the US.
  • More than eight in ten adults have participated in social change in the past six months.
  • The primary motivator in the US and Canada is a desire to help others less fortunate whereas in Brazil and India participation makes them feel good.


Walden University


PDF report