How We Work Together
Whether you’re a community, organization, or an individual seeking change in an interpersonal
situation, Socio-Logic treats working
together as a true partnership with you.
We seek to understand your unique situation first.
We do not believe there is a single answer that fits every situation, and so you will not find us
selling any pre-packaged solutions. Before it can be understood how
might be able to help,
we have to understand your unique situation first. We value listening and seek an in-depth
understanding of the perspectives of those involved with the situation and use a variety of
social science “research methods” to gain that insight from them.
We trust you to be the expert on your situation.
We do not believe there is a single answer that fits every situation, and so you will not find us selling any
pre-packaged solutions. Before it can be understood how
might be able to help, we
have to understand your unique situation first. We value listening and seek an in-depth understanding
of the perspectives of those involved with the situation and use a variety of social
science “research methods” to gain that insight from them.
We take your knowledge and combine it with social science expertise.
While individuals are the experts regarding their experience in situations, individuals might struggle to
organize their thinking or experience in such a way that it facilitates creating change. Therefore,
pairs individuals’ unique
perspectives, with formal social science knowledge and practical approaches, to make change doable.
Working Together to Change Your Situation (Read More) >>
During the course of providing sociological consulting for the past 10 years, we have learned a few
things from clients. Everyone has some “predicament”—some “situation”—
they want to change. Clients do not just want to “feel” better about the situation or
just change how they perceive the situation—they want to change the situation itself and outcomes
related to the situation.
Action-Oriented Situational Change™
Using these valuable insights gained from clients and drawing from sociology, social psychology,
and other social sciences, Socio-Logic has created a unique way of working with clients that
involves a particular perspective or "model" (a way of viewing things). This model or perspective
is called Action-Oriented Situational Change Model™, which is used to foster
Action-Oriented Situational Change™ (also, AOSC™ or AOSCM™). This model gives
Socio-Logic the ability to allow for
the uniqueness of the client’s experience, while still providing consistency in its approach.
Change: Individual Change (Self/Others) vs. Situational Change.
One of the things that sets the AOSCM™ apart from other perspectives of helping people is that
the focus is on change, and specifically creating change in situations, as opposed to necessarily
focusing on individual-level change of self and others.
“Helping professionals” use many perspectives when working with people. Most of those perspectives
have an individual-level of focus; that is, they look for some individual (“psychological”) attribute
to change. Often this involves some element of the individual’s self, their personality, character,
thought, or feeling. Indeed, these might be fruitful areas for change and should be options for
consideration. However, when the individual is the central point of focus, these options are really
the only ones available, and often none of these seem satisfying to people. Moreover, focusing on attributes
of individuals can hinder change in group situations, because enviroment, context, and interaction between
individuals is often ignored.
The opposing perspective to self/individual change, is looking for change in the “other."
In other words, sometimes the focus is on getting the people around us to change,
rather than making changes ourselves. Like individual/self-change, it is an option to consider. At the same
time, just like individual/self-change, it has its limits: people might very well decide they cannot or
will not change. And like self-focused change, change focused on the "other" keeps the changed focused on
individuals, rather than on the interaction between them, or other elements of the environment or group
context that could be changed.
The dichotomy of changing the self vs. others can be resolved by focusing on changing a “situation.”
The term “situation” can be thought of in a very casual sense. People often naturally use the
term “situation” when describing what they are concerned about. For example, they will say,
“There is this situation at the office” or “here is the situation I find myself in.”
In (symbolic) interactionist-based sociology, the term “situation” is also used as a formal term,
but in a way that is consistent with the casual use of the term. From an interactionist perspective,
a “situation” is a series of interactions that occur between people, under a particular set of
circumstances. The interactionist perspective views the process of defining and understanding situations as
the central human activity in which we are involved. At any given point, each individual in a situation is
looking at the environment and actions of others, and trying to determine:
- What is “going on” in the moment in the context/environment in which I find myself?
- What are others “supposed” to be doing based on my understanding of #1?
- What actions should I take, based on my understanding of #1 & #2.
It is through this complex interplay of actions, reactions, and interactions, over periods of time, that situations, contexts,
and enviroments are created and sustained.
The Advantages of Using “Situations” as the Unit of Focus
When trying to create change, you must have some unit on which to focus; that is, you must have a general idea of the type of “thing” in which you want to create change. Like the notion of “self” or “other,’ a situation is a “unit” or “thing” on which to focus action. However, while still maintaining a manageable focus, “situations” are broader, and include the ideas of change in “self” and “others.” With situations, all options to create change are on the table: you can focus on individual characteristics, you can focus on others, or you can focus on something about the environment or context that could create the desired change. All types of theories are on the table as well: you can look to theories of individual change or you can look to theories of group or social change. Essentially, whatever is pragmatic that could be used to potentially create the type of desired change in a situation can be considered.
"Situations" are Flexible.
Another benefit of using situations as a unit of focus is that their boundaries provide structure, but are flexible. Unlike situations, notions of individual persons (whether it be “self” or “other”) are fixed; that is, you cannot alter the definition of a person. However, situations can be defined to include any kind of interaction between people. If certain aspects of the interaction are not relevant to the situation, then those aspects can be excluded.
"Situations" are Scalable.
By scalable, I mean a situation identified for change could be large or small. For instance, an identified situation can involve just two people in a set of circumstances that rarely happen, or a situation can involve hundreds or thousands of people under circumstances that frequently occur.
The Advantages of Using “Situations” as the Unit of Focus
Once we have aligned our thinking with the “situation” being the unit of focus for change, the general nature of the situation-focused change becomes clear, and certain characteristics of this type of change seem to naturally arise.
Situational Change is Action-Oriented.
Because situations involve interaction, change in situations naturally emphasizes action. While individual/self-change might just involve thinking or feeling different, you cannot change a situation exclusively by changing how you feel or think. That being said, change in action is often motivated by changes in thinking or attitude, which again illustrates that situational change can involve individual/self-change, but it is not limited to it.
Situational Change is Relationship-Oriented.
While our thoughts, attitudes, and actions contribute to creating situations, we cannot entirely
create situations on our own. By definition, situations are created through interaction with the people
around us in a particular context; therefore, action-oriented, situational change, pays attention to the
relationships between people and their relationships to the context and environment.
Situational Change is Social Change.
The term “social change,” is
typically used to describe broad “macro-level” changes, such as changes that can occur
in society or its institutions. At the same time, regardless of the scale, changes in situations,
whether those situations are big or small (micro or macro), are always social. That is to say, change
in situations always affects other people in the situation, and occurs through interaction with other
people in the situation. Therefore, situational change is always social change. If you wanted to
distinguish between the two, you might think of large-scale, macro-level social change with a capital
“s,” and small-scale, micro-level social change with a lower-case “s.”
Situational Change Relies on Verstehen (Empathy).
involve an element of interpretation by all participants. Participants act based on their
interpretation of the situation and their interpretation of the actions of the other participants.
Because of this interpretive element, the German sociologist Weber said that verstehen
(lit., “understanding”) was important when ascribing meaning to people’s actions.
In modern terms, verstehen
could be translated as “empathy.” Therefore, desired
change in a situation cannot be created, without an attempt to understand the way others in the
situation perceive the situation, and the meaning they ascribe to their actions in the situation.
Individual Needs Arise Based on the Way a Situation is Interpreted.
Situations can also be thought of in terms of basic human needs. People decide what needs arise, and whether those needs have been met or not, based on how they interpret a situation. If I interpret a situation as one where I am “isolated,” then I will likely determine that I have a need for connection or companionship that has not been satisfied. Therefore, in creating change in situations, one could choose to figure out how to satisfy the particular needs that arise from the interpretation or one could look to change other aspects of the situation, which would alter the interpretation (thereby satisfying the associated needs).
Conflict is Inherent in Situations, So Situational Change Necessitates Conflict
Conflict arises from the way people interact, based on the way they interpret a
situation and conceive of what actions make sense to them, according to that interpretation. Conflict
can arise when individuals knowingly or unknowingly have different definitions of the situation,
including the role each person is supposed to play, and the expected actions and attitudes associated
with their perceived roles. Because everyone is an individual with their own unique experiences and
understandings of the world, conflict is a natural, ongoing feature of interactions and relationships;
its intensity ebbs and flows, but never completely goes away.
How Can We Help?
If you are interested in working together to create change in a commmunity, organizational, or
interpersonal context, you can read more about those contexts in the relevant sections. Otherwise, the
next step is a free consultation.
Working Together ◆
H. Scott Clemens ◆
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