According to a new paper published in Science magazine, a small percentage of 25 percent of those who take a clear stance are required for large-scale social change. This can be called social tipping point, which can be applied to change the standards in the workplace or to take the lead in all other social movements.
Over the last 50 years, numerous institutions and communities have been trying to find out what is the small number needed to reach tipping points through observation.
According to Dr. Damon Sentola, author of a paper published in Science, the attempt to change failed when the minority was less than 25% of the total group, but when the few dedicated to change reached 25%, there was a radical change in the group’s dynamics Very quickly, many of the groups have accepted the new norm. In addition, in the experiment, “the difference of one person” was the success or failure of the change.
“There is no way to know that society is approaching a tipping point that causes massive social change. And a few attempts at failing to reach a tipping point have failed. However, when only one person was added and was able to exceed the 25% tipping point, that small effort has been successful in quickly changing the whole group of opinions.”
But it should be taken into account that it can be much more complex in real life than in research. The 25% tipping point that Dr. Sentola’s research model talks about can vary, depending on how long people remember norms and how deeply they hold beliefs or actions.
For example, a person with a belief based on numerous past interactions is less affected by a single factor of change. On the other hand, those who consider only the latest interactions can change their social tipping points more easily.
“In terms of social change in economics over the last few hundred years, It says that a number of activists are needed to change social norms. This is called balance stability analysis. In this traditional model, the number of people to initiate true social change is over 51%. However, we have found that theoretically and experimentally, we can make effective changes with far fewer people.”
It is difficult to change the underlying belief that people believe. However, Dr. Centola’s findings show that a small number of committed individuals can change socially acceptable behavior. The study also shows that it can create influences that can lead to pro-social outcomes such as reduced energy consumption, reduced sexual harassment at work, or improved exercise habits.
Unfortunately, this result may lead to another bad result. In other words, they can use a small amount of force to trigger massive antisocial behavior such as Internet trolls, cyber violence, or racial collective explosions.
Maybe that’s why we need to judge and support the few beliefs and philosophies that drive our society’s change. If you want the right change, you have to uphold the right beliefs and philosophy.