Academic journal article Organisational and Social Dynamics

Soundings: OPUS Global Report 2015

Academic journal article Organisational and Social Dynamics

Soundings: OPUS Global Report 2015

Article excerpt

Abstract

On or about 15th January 2015, 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 2015, were held in twenty seven different countries around the world (Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany (2 Reports), Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy (4 Reports), Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, South Africa (2 Reports), 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.

INTRODUCTION

Over the past decade and more, members of societies throughout the world have experienced this period in history as one of unprecedented and revolutionary social change. Much of this change began and continues with technological developments such as the availability of social networking. A further effect of technological change was to pave the way for globalisation which, adopted policies of freedom of movement of people, freedom of movement of capital, and international outsourcing of manufacturing. This has led to massive immigration, the economic crisis, a widening of the gap between rich and poor; as well as changes in the ideas; including political, social, philosophical, and religious ideas. Taken together, members of societies have experienced the totality of change as a huge loss: what we have referred to as death of a way of life. This experience is shared by all societies, the used and the users; the rich and the poor; resulting in a clash of cultures where international and intra-national, fundamentalists have been mobilised to seize the opportunity to ferment conflict and fear.

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. All societies are struggling to make sense of their world and finding it difficult to adapt to a new way of life. At this point it seems impossible for members of societies to imagine what a new way of life would be like or even begin to create one. Economic outsourcing to multiple countries and incoming economic immigration has created greater integration of peoples of different race, religion, political belief, and traditions. However, it has also served to highlight the differences, not least, the differences between the wealthy and the poor, be that at a national or personal level within societies. In some instances, the threats to personal and national boundaries has led to far left and far right political parties vying for power. In addition, it has resulted in the presence of fundamentalists within the host society; those who can be easily convinced of the inherent need to revert to extreme religious or cultural beliefs.

CURRENT DYNAMICS

The current experience of members of societies throughout the world is that they are still struggling to make sense of their world. Admiration was expressed for the large numbers of people who demonstrated in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. …

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