ToC Academy > Using ToC for Learning > Post: The Hidden Life of Theory of Change
The Hidden Life of Theory of Change
by Wenny Ho, Margit van Wessel & Peter Tamas from Hivos
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Theory of Change is thought to be very useful for learning and adaptive management of complex interventions such as advocacy. Nevertheless, the use of Theory of Change is also under critique. One common criticism is that Theory of Change is often used as a framework that fixes agreements rather than as a living, guiding tool that helps reflection and adaptation. However, while such criticism stresses forms of control, little research has looked at the way Theory of Change and advocacy practice relate.

This is a pertinent issue considering that formally agreed Theories of Change and realities on the ground can be very different. This raises questions: Do advocates work in ways different from what Theory of Change states, and if so, how, and why? How does the way they strategize relate to formal Theories of Change? With what implications? In this brief, we explore these more hidden aspects of the life of Theories of Change.