Community development is practice applied by paid workers and volunteers to facilitate community activity and build capacity. Previous research has sought to explore the contested nature of community development. However, there has been less research on how practitioners develop their practice. The concept of social
contagion has been developed, in a range of different fields, to explain how social phenomena pass between individuals. This research explored the adoption and promotion of community development ways of working from this conceptual perspective through a mixed method qualitative approach in three case study areas. The preliminary findings indicate that the phenomena being transmitted can be broadly categorised as general
practices, values-based ways of working or particular techniques. These were spread through informal or
systematic mechanisms. The implications of emerging findings relate how policies, organisations and practitioners can create environments that are more, or less, conducive to the spread of community development practices.
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