Diagnosing and anticipating social issue maturation: introducing a new diagnostic framework

Stephen McGrail, Eyal Halamish, Katherine Teh-White, Megan Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The dynamics and processes of how technologies progress and mature over time have been well researched, and this knowledge is used to understand and anticipate the speed and nature of technological change. In contrast, frameworks for analysing the emergence and 'maturing' of social issues have not as high a level of research. This paper presents a new framework for analysing social issues, introduces the concept of social issue maturation, and considers the implications for business, government and others. Existing frameworks tend to use basic descriptors (rather than observable outcomes), and rarely provide indicators and tools for tracking issues and anticipating future development. Our approach differs in that it is based on observable phases that allow the maturing of an issue to be plotted over-time, and the analytical framework integrates issue lifecycle modelling with technology analysis tools. Our approach also draws on social science research on the role of public risk perception and societal 'transitions'. We demonstrate its use by analysing climate change, and discussing related issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-61
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Global climate change
  • Issue lifecycles
  • Issues management
  • Risk communication
  • Social issue maturation

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