Academic journal article Organisational and Social Dynamics

Soundings: OPUS Global Report 2014

Academic journal article Organisational and Social Dynamics

Soundings: OPUS Global Report 2014

Article excerpt


On or about 8th January 2014, under the guidance and coordination of OPUS, Listening Posts aimed at providing a snapshot of the societal dynamics of each country at the dawn of 2014, were held in twenty-seven different countries around the world (Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany (2 Reports), Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy (2 Reports), Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, & USA). These were all reported in a similar format (see 'Britain and the World at the Dawn of 2003" in Organizational & Social Dynamics, 3(1): 165-169), researched and analysed by the authors, to produce this Global Report.

The authors self-defined their task as follows. To research and analyse the National Reports with a view to:

(a) Identify common themes arising within the Reports from the twenty-seven countries;

(b) Explore relationships between themes and to reduce these down to major or dominant themes;

(c) Collate supporting information from the Reports for analysis of these themes; and

(d) Formulate hypotheses arising there from.

For the sake of brevity this Report will only document the major interrelated themes identified, followed by an analysis and hypotheses regarding each.

Key words: Listening Posts, global dynamics, societal dynamics, social defences against anxiety.


Members of societies throughout the world are continuing to experience this period in history as one of unprecedented and revolutionary social change that is still increasing in intensity. This includes technological change such as the availability of social networking sites whereby members of societies can be in touch with a large number of people but not in a meaningful way such as will satisfy their human needs. But it is not just about technology it also includes the ideas; including political, social, philosophical, and religious ideas. There is continuing evidence that the experience of members of societies throughout the world is that this period is one of formative changes in the structure of the world economy, the shape of societies, and the framework of world governance. It is leading to the development of a new way of life and a new culture.

The current experiences of members of societies throughout the world is that they are still struggling to make sense of their world; they face overwhelming feelings of confusion, worthlessness and helplessness, impotence, inferiority, humiliation, and scariness; they are fragmented and are forced to flee to the comparative safety of individualism; unable to form any collective response; a tendency to regressing to the paranoid-schizoid position with splitting, aggressive and violent responses; and lacking in almost any form of community. There is a strong dependency on political leaders who are experienced as incapable of providing the required responses. A result is a loss of trust and sense of being failed by politicians and the unmet dependency is located in the family or in local initiatives. The emotional basis of current societal dynamics is experienced as: one against the rest of society; frustration and anger at not having a voice; a withdrawal from society to individualism; every man for himself; an experience of not being recognised and a loss of identity. This leads to feelings of helplessness, impotence, bewilderment, passivity, loneliness, despair, and solitude. A result is disconnection, isolation, lack of integration, a lack of interest and curiosity, and a lack of social commitment. It becomes a selfish society where uncertainty results in a narcissistic focus on self, no reflection, aggressive confrontation and hostility to the "other". A lack of tolerance of difference, lack of compassion, members of societies become insiders and outsiders resulting in an absence of the "other": and experiences of blaming, helplessness, disorientation, a need for acceptance, insecurity, and uncertainty. …

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