A focus on changes over time is a primary focus of a lot of sociological studies. Changes within a family or the economy of a society can cause a lot of confusion and have a wide range of consequences. This is why it is common to find the term “social dynamic” to be used in situations which there is an interest in describing the sequence of steps of changes, the way in which the process unfolds, and whether or the sequence could have been different. Social dynamics is not often utilized in studies that only analyze a simple, before-and after comparison of the condition of the system at two different times.
In certain cases the feedback effect can control the order of changes: minor deviations from balance tend to be compensated by compensating forces and so, changes may be predictable. In these instances, social dynamics are often studied with the help of models of non-equilibrium behaviours using methods created by mathematical physics as well as computer simulations.
In other instances there are instances where a cause outside of the system being studied is more likely to be the cause for the pattern of change. Some sociologists of economics, for example have examined the impact of culture on economic growth. Studies have shown that a culture’s attitude toward innovation can impact how an economy expands, with greater innovation and higher growth rates being associated with cultures that reward people who are innovative more respect.