top of page
  • Writer's pictureStraight To The Point

The Development of Social Change Leadership Model

Social Change Leadership is lonely at the top

Many of us might remember the immortal dialogue in the classic 'The Three Musketeers, written by Alexander Dumas. One of the three musketeers, D'Artagnan says, "And now gentlemen 'All for one, one for all – that is our motto, is it not?" or in Latin Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno. The German version of this dialogue is the traditional motto of Switzerland. The development of the social change leadership model signifies a similar sentiment.

The phrase 'All for one, one for all' signifies the strong bond that an individual has with society. How one can look for solidarity and support within a group and contribute to the group's solidarity. While there are several leadership development models, the social change model of leadership development focuses on understanding the self to create a meaningful and positive change in society.

What is the social change model of leadership?

The development of the social change leadership model came about in recent times. Higher Education Research Institute of the University College of Los Angeles in San Francisco developed this concept in 1994. This model views leadership as a purposeful, collaborative, value-based process resulting in positive social change. It attempts to integrate with the established leadership models.

Social change model leadership is an inclusive program. It recognizes the importance of those in formal leadership positions and those who are not. The model is designed to enhance leadership skills in all and welcomes contribution from all group members. It believes in personal empowerment of the individual benefiting the group goals.

This module was initially developed as one of the leadership development activity for college students to enhance student learning and encourage positive social change. It was designed to promote team collaboration amongst the students and create their own social change and mould them into global citizens.

Introduced as a 4-year program for undergraduate students it had different kinds of service activities and learning outcomes. The fundamental premise was the development of future leaders and encourage practice of good citizenship.

Goals of the Social change leadership model

The social change leadership model has two primary goals:

1. To enhance student learning and development. To develop in each individual higher self-awareness to understand one’s talents, values, and interests. Assess the student’s capacity to provide effect leadership.

2. To facilitate positive social change at the institution or in the community. Encourage such actions that will help effective function of the institution or community in a humane way.

Leadership is a process, not a position

The social change leadership theory focuses on creating a change. The change can be on the personal front, organizational or in the society. It believes that the common purpose of a leader is to enhance community values and ensure social justice for a better world.

Leadership is collaborative besides inclusive and being accessible to all people. Effective leadership can make such difference that the impact is clear in forming a better society. This is important because people are too often comfortable with the way things are in the community. Even if there are apparent mismanagement, they are willing to ignore it because of the fear of change. Social change model approaches leadership as a social responsibility to create the necessary change in the group process.

The ultimate goal of the creative process of leadership is to take a stand based on their vision and established goals. They should lay the strategy map and take action to implement changes despite opposition and obstacles. Service is an effective tool for developing effective leadership skills and a powerful vehicle for civic engagement and social change.

The Seven Cs

The cornerstone value of the group leadership effort in the social change model is based on seven dimensions. They are the values of the social change model and values of equity. These dimensions or values are collectively known as the Seven C.

The Seven Cs are: Consciousness of Self, Congruence, Commitment, Common purpose, Controversy with civility, Collaboration and Citizenship. All these seven critical values are interdependent and work together to achieve the final C, which is change.

1. Consciousness of Self

This is being aware of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that drive us and motivate us to act. Without having a complete understanding of the self, it is challenging to develop consciousness of others.

2. Congruence

Congruence revolves around understanding and being consistent with one's own values, beliefs, strengths, and limitations. It is walking the talk. As an interdependent value to the consciousness of self, personal congruence is acting the way you think and thinking the way you act.

3. Commitment

Commitment is the promise at a personal level to devote time and complete a task. It is the motivational energy to serve, and which drives the collective effort. Commitment implies passion, intensity, and duration.


‘No man is an island’. What we are is a collective effort of the wisdom and strength of our collaborative leadership development process. This value focuses on working with others in a common effort. Collaboration is the cornerstone value of the group leadership efforts because it empowers self and others through trust.

5. Common purpose

Success is possible only when the group activities are focused on common goals. The individual goals of the members must be aligned with the group values. Common purpose value is working with shared aims and values. It facilitates the groups’ ability to engage in the collective analysis of issues at hand and the task to be undertaken.

6. Controversy with civility

There is bound to be different opinions in every group. Successful groups are where members of the group share and value the opinions of the individual member. Creative solutions are possible only from such collaborative groups.

Controversy with civility recognizes two fundamental realities of any creative group effort. It recognizes difference in view points and encourages to air such differences openly but with civility. It is the exercise of restraint over unacceptable actions of others

7. Citizenship

Citizenship is a process whereby the individual and the collaborative group become responsibly connected to the community and the society through the leadership development activity. It is the groups ability to match the personal qualities of an individual.

The Three perspectives of the 7Cs model

The seven Cs listed above are part of the three different perspectives influencing the different layers of the community – the individual, the group, and the society.

The Individual

The model seeks to inquire the development of different personal qualities in the individual. Which of those personal qualities will support group functioning and positive social change?

The Group

How can the collaborative leadership development process be designed not only to facilitate the development of the desired, individual qualities listed above but also to affect positive social change?

The Society

The questions the model addresses for the society is toward what social ends is the leadership development activity direct? What kinds of service activities are the most effecting in energizing the group and in developing desired personal qualities in the individual?

The Seven Cs can be distributed amongst the above three perspectives.


Consciousness of Self




Common Purpose

Controversy with Civility



The Development of Social Change Leadership Model

This model was introduced in 1994, essentially as a college student leadership development program, especially aimed at the 4-year leadership program. Subsequently it was changed to master’s degrees aimed at training potential leaders among the students providing cocurricular leadership experiences. The emphasis was on community services

The aim of the social change leadership model is to bring a positive social change.

What is positive social change?

It is the change that results in the improvement of human and social conditions for the betterment of the society. Such change can occur at multiple levels. It can be the individuals, the families, communities, organizations and even the government. Positive social change Is influenced by ideas and action with live implications of the situation with individual values or personal values becoming fundamental realities of any creative group effort.

Responsible leadership scale in the social change leadership model relies on the group’s ability to match up with the primary goals or the individual qualities on behalf of others. Further research is required into this leadership programs.

The social change leadership model categorizes all students as potential leaders. Service is a powerful tool for developing leadership skills amongst the students. Following the 20th anniversary celebration by the International Leadership Association of the SCM many universities in the United States introduced President’s Leadership Fellows program. This is a 4-year program which facilitates all students an opportunity to develop into leaders through classroom and cocurricular leadership experiences and skill development.

Ultimately the development of social change leadership model hinges on matching the group activity with an individual’s own beliefs as a collective contribution to the overall development of the community and in the process the individual.

88 views0 comments


bottom of page