Cultivating Collaborations: Collective Action

Solutions Journalism Network

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!