Adaptive change

Changes made to address more nebulous challenges or issues by experimenting with new approaches and practices.


‘The act of persuading or arguing in support of a specific cause, policy, idea or set of values’ (Cox and Pezzullo 2016). Advocacy can be undertaken by groups or individuals (Tarrow, 2011), who together form a movement on the basis of a shared identity (Diani, 1992).


The capacity to act independently, to make free choices and to act on one's will.


‘A connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result’ (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Civil society

Groups and individuals, which are independent and distinct from government and business sometimes also referred to a 'the third sector'.

Community capacity building

Building the ability of communities to develop, implement and sustain their own solutions to problems, in a way that allows them to shape and exercise control in a positive manner.


The doctrine that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences.

Corporate citizenship

Where a corporate entity, such as corporation, business, or business-like organisation, has social, cultural and environmental responsibilities to the community.

Deliberative action

Bringing together members of the public to get input and meaningful insights into how people think about a topic.

Deliberative democracy

A form of democracy in which deliberation is central to decision-making and where people are placed closer to the affairs of government and decision-makers

Deliberative reasoning

Reasoning which takes into account considerations such as values and beliefs and opinions to arrive at a preferred course of action.


The study of the nature of duty and obligation.


A complex concept which is essentially about one idea or thesis being considered against an opposing idea or anti-thesis, ideally to reach a synthesis.

Discourse arenas

A site or environment in which debate and discussion takes place.


An entity consisting of diverse parts or things that can be very different from each other.


‘The clearly defined, decisive and achievable changes in social actors, i.e. individuals, groups, organizations or institutions that will contribute to the overall campaign goal(s)’ (UN Women 2012).

Pluralist societies

Are those where a diverse group of individuals (for example of diverse ethnicities, sexual orientations, cultures, religions and traditions) coexist, maintain their identities and share power.


Relates to the accepting of information, facts or arguments on face value or without clear authority, without checking on the veracity or ‘truth’ of the communication which may be fake or a lie.

Pragmatic solutions

Solutions based on real world conditions or circumstances, informed by what can realistically be done as opposed to idealistic or theoretical courses of action.


To view something as a problem requiring a solution to allow new viewpoints, approaches and action to emerge

Public arenas

A public site or environment in which discussion and debate takes place.

Public interest groups

Any group of individuals or organisations which promote and/or attempt to influence issues of public concern.

Public sphere

An environment in which individuals discuss, deliberate, exchange opinions and form public opinion.

Reflexive practice

When individuals reflect on what they have learned and then consider how the implications of their learnings can impact the broader context.


An acronym meaning 'Specific', 'Measurable', 'Action-based', 'Realistic', 'Time-bound'.

Social movements

An entity with three characteristics. First, that individuals share a collective identity; second, that they interact in a loose network of organizations with varying degrees of formality; and third, that they are engaged voluntarily in collective action motivated by shared concern about an issue (Giugni and Grasso, 2015).

Social responsibility

The idea that businesses should act in a way that benefits society or has the best interests of their environment and society as a whole.


Tactics are the actions used to implement a strategy, which itself is a ‘plan that is intended to achieve a particular purpose’ (Oxford Learner's Dictionaries).

The public sphere

The public sphere is the arena where citizens can deliberate, discuss, exchange public opinions and come together to form public opinion.

The social contract

An implicit, hypothetical, or actual agreement or compact among members of a society to cooperate for social benefits, or between rulers and the ruled, defining the rights and duties of each.

United Nations Global Compact

A voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. See more at


The philosophy which argues that an action is right if it results in the happiness of the greatest number of people in a society or a group.

Virtue ethics

A character-based approach to morality which argues that we acquire virtue through practice and character traits rather than fulfilling duties


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