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Social Change Model of Leadership Development

Understanding the Social Change Model of Leadership Development

Blueprint Leadership Development Program

Source:  University of California at Berkeley.  Social Change Model Explained

CLICK HERE to view this overview in PDF format. 

As local and global social issues continue to emerge, a need for leaders of social change is vital. Empowering students to be social change agents can be a daunting task. Many leadership educators regard the Social Change Model as the leadership model for the 21st century. Its purpose is to mold the concept of leadership as an inclusive process by which change is effected for the betterment of others. It is a value-based model of leadership development that revolves around a core of service as the vehicle for social change.

Change, of course, is the value "hub" which gives meaning and purpose to the 7 C’s (outlines below). Change, in other words, is the ultimate goal of the creative process of leadership - to make a better world and a better society for all.

The Social Change Model of Leadership Development was created in 1993 by the Higher Education Research Institute of UCLA in an effort to enhance student learning and facilitate positive social change. This model emphasizes the need to understand self and others in an effort to create community change. It is less about the leader and more about the leadership community. The model is inclusive in that it is designed to enhance the development of leadership qualities in all participants- those who hold formal leadership positions as well as those who do not. In this model, leadership is viewed as a process rather than as a position and the values of equity, social justice, self-knowledge, personal empowerment, collaboration, citizenship, and service are explicitly promoted.

Since we believe a valuable approach to leadership development involves collaboration and concern with fostering positive social change, we embrace the way this particular model examines leadership development from three different perspectives or levels:




What personal qualities are we attempting to foster and develop in those who participate in a leadership development program? What personal qualities are most supportive of group functioning and positive social change?

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

Toward what social ends is the leadership development activity directed? What kinds of activities are the most effective in energizing the group and in developing desired personal qualities in the individual?


Values are core critical elements of the Social Change Model – specifically these seven:




Consciousness of self

Awareness of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivate one to take action.


Thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty.


Motivational energy to serve and that drives the collective effort.  Commitment implies passion, intensity, and duration.






Working with others in a common effort.  It constitutes the cornerstone value of the group leadership effort because it empowers self and others through trust.

Common Purpose

Working with shared aims and values.  It facilitates the group’s ability to engage in collective analysis of the issues at hand and the task to be undertaken.

Controversy with Civility

Recognizes two fundamental realities of any creative group effort:  that differences in viewpoint are inevitable, and that these differences must be aired openly but with civility.




Process whereby the individual and the collaborative group become responsibly connected to the community and the society through the leadership development activity.