What is Behaviour Change? – Definition



The CIWM Behaviour Change Strategic Expert Group has decided to publish a definition to clarify the meaning of “behaviour change” within the specific context of the resources and waste sector.

The term “behaviour change” can be interpreted in various ways depending on the context, leading to potential misunderstandings or ambiguities.

By providing a clear, sector-specific definition, the group aims to ensure a shared understanding among professionals and stakeholders. This helps in aligning efforts, strategies, and communications, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness of initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable practices and reducing waste.

Definition: What is Behaviour Change?

Derived from multiple disciplines including behavioural science, social marketing, sociology, and psychology, behaviour change is the practice of changing people’s behaviour; their actions, what they DO – as opposed to what they know, believe, feel, or think.

This can be achieved using a range of strategies and tools and by considering the context in which existing behaviours take place (and why) to identify and develop interventions that influence a desired behaviour.

Types of intervention vary and include, for example: education, persuasion, incentivisation, coercion, training, enablement, modelling, changing the physical or social context, and restriction; as per the COM-B model and framework (Michie et. al. 2011).

They can also take the form of policy actions such as regulation, fiscal measures, guidelines, environmental and social planning, communications and marketing, legislation, and service provision; also used in COM-B (as well as other behaviour change models).

Such interventions are deployed, often in combination, to shape how people and societies behave.

Send this to a friend