Contextualising the self and social change making: an evaluation of the Young Social Pioneers program

Naomi Berman
Emily Mellon


This article presents the findings of an evaluation of an innovative Australian social entrepreneurship and leadership program to highlight some of the challenges young social change makers face as they attempt to influence change in their local, national and international environments. Through an investigation of an innovative Australian social entrepreneurship program, this article demonstrates how reflexive, communicative and participatory practices position young people at the forefront of new forms of civic engagement and that there are certain needs relating to the development of self and community which must to be addressed in order that these young social actors can fulfil their civic aspirations. The findings of the evaluation reported here demonstrate that if social entrepreneur programs are to be successful in providing a service to young people, they need to foster the creation of environments characterised by collectivism, collaboration and opportunities for self development while providing practical solutions to common barriers faced by social entrepreneurs

Full Text:



Anderson, B. 1983, Imagined Communities, Verso, London.

Bandura, A. 2006, 'Guide for constructing self-efficacy scales', in Parjares, F and Urdan, T (eds) Self-Efficacy Beliefs of Adolescents, Information Age Publication (IAP): Greenwich.

Cohen, A. P. 1985, The Symbolic Construction of Community, Routledge, New York.

Dart, J. and Davies, R. 2003, 'A dialogical, story-based evaluation tool: The Most Significant Change Technique', American Journal of Evaluation, vol. 24, no.2: 137155.

Davies, R. 1998, 'An evolutionary approach to organisational learning: an experiment by an NGO in Bangladesh', Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, vol. 16, no. 3: 243-250.

Dick, B. 2002, Action research: action and research, retrieved from 16 February 2012

Harding, R., 2006, Social Entrepreneurship Monitor, Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, London Business School.

Harris, A., Wyn, J. & Younes, S. 2010, 'Beyond apathetic or activist youth: 'Ordinary' young people and contemporary forms of participation', Young, vol. 18, no. 1: 9-32.

Kotvojs, F. 2006, Contribution analysis: a new approach to evaluation in international development, Paper given at 2006 International Conference, Darwin, Australia, 4 7 September 2006.

Mayne, J. 1999, Addressing attribution through contribution analysis: using performance measures sensibly, Discussion Paper, Office of the Auditor General of Canada, June 1999.

New Economics Foundation 2006, School for Social Entrepreneurs: Evaluation report, October 2006, retrieved from 12 February 2012.

Pajares, F. & Schunk, D. H. 2002, 'Self and self-belief in psychology and education: an historical perspective' in J. Aronson (ed) Improving Academic Achievement, Academic Press, New York.

Park, N. 2004, 'Character strengths and positive youth development', Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 591: 40-54.

Ruef. M. 2010, The Entrepreneurial Group: Social Identities, Relations, and Collective Action, retrieved from 14 February 2012.

Ryan, R.M. & Deci, E.L. 2000, 'Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being', American Psychologist, vol. 55, no.1: 68 78.

Sukarieh, M. and Tannock, S. 2011, 'The positivity imperative: a critical look at the 'new' youth development movement', Journal of Youth Studies, vol. 14: 675-691.

Tönnies, F. 1971, On Sociology: Pure, Applied and Empirical, edited by W.J. Cahnman & R. Heberle, University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Vromen, A. & Collin, P. 2010, 'Everyday youth participation? Contrasting views from Australian policymakers and young people', Young vol. 18, no.1: 97-112

Weber, M. 2003, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Dover Publications, New York.

Wyness, M. 2009, 'Children representing children: participation and the problem of diversity in UK youth councils', Childhood, vol 16, no. 4: 535-552



Share this article: