In today’s world the organization is the closest modern day alternative to the primitive groups of our distant past. So, it is natural—it is inherent in our nature—to feel a sense of “belonging”, or become “attached” to the organizations that employ us. It is also inherent in our nature for us to harbor the expectation our employing organizations will feel the same way toward us. After all, in the past, our survival was mutually interdependent.
The modern trend toward rapid change has thrown confusion into the joining of groups, one of the most powerful human impulses. We are ruled by an urge—better yet, a compelling necessity—that began in our early primate ancestry. Every person is a compulsive group-seeker, hence an intensely tribal animal that seeks a place where he/she can not only contribute to the sense of community but also be respected and protected by the group in return.
Yet so often our “groups” do not return the favor, and so we are compelled to seek new ways to replace the sense of security that we have lost with new, but less satisfactory “attachments”. We try to satisfy this need we form attachments to objects or abstractions such as in a particular leader, computer, software, our office space, or rules, protocols or process. Or we look outside of our work group at extended family, organized religion, ideology, ethnic group, sports club, or even in the games we play. In any case, and in spite of the replacements, we find ourselves with a sense of emptiness, and loss…
This is the dilemma of the modern man and the modern organization and it will not likely be soon resolved. Not until we have the courage to open up to a better understanding of our unconscious natures, and bring those needs into consciousness where we can deal with them openly and honestly.
Many of the thoughts that support this series of blogs originated in the book The Social Conquest of Earth by the 2 time Pulitzer Prize E.O. Wilson.