This paper reports results from a study of how participants’ sense of personal hope and motivation was affected by a facilitated process in which four groups of people worked on different complex social issues. The group interventions were designed to scaffold increased understanding of the complexity of the chosen issue. A method called The Integral Process for Working on Complex Issues was used in all of the groups. Issues addressed in the four groups were: neighborhood deterioration, lack of community engagement, the need for better strategies for communication between rescue service actors in critical life-and-death situations, and transition to a more environmentally sustainable city. The study investigated the participants’ self-reported changes in their levels of hope regarding the possibility of achieving positive results on the selected issue, and changes in their motivation to engage in work to that end. The data were gathered through interviews with individual group participants before and after the group process. The sessions supported group members to develop more awareness of the complexity of the issues, and to develop strategies for action.
The study indicates that the discovery of new potential pathways to manage an issue, through a more comprehensive understanding of the complexity involved, was a key factor influencing levels of hope and motivation. Reports from participants showed that when the participants formulated concrete actions that made sense to them, then “particularized hope” emerged, as well as motivation to continue to engage. Thus, increased levels of hope about a delimited part of the issue were reported, while in some cases, participants reported having less hope about the issue complex as a whole.Tags: motivation, scaffolding, task complexity awareness, Andersson, Collective efficacy, engagement, hope, pathway perception