Social Commitments in A Depersonalized World By: Edward J. Lawler, Shane R. Thye, and Jeongkoo Yoon
Every so often a book emerges by a social scientist that strikes at the core of an issue. For years sociologists and social psychologists have been talking about the loss of community. In 1958 Vidich and Bensman spoke of a small town in mass society….Other sociologists have talked about the collapse of the family, the collapse of the nation state, and the demise of commitments to institutions, organizations, and society.
For over 15 years Edward J. Lawler and his colleagues Shane R. Thye, and Jeongkoo Yoon conducted a series of rigorous social psychological experiments asking fundamental questions about the basic fabric of social solidarity. Lawler and his colleagues ask the most essential of questions: What sustains commitment in a world where interactions are fleeting, where organizations are dispersed, and careers are transient? The author’s study the underlying social psychological conditions that brings us together than tear us apart.
They find recurring collaboration, repeated interactions, equal status, and overlapping afflictions, are among the mechanisms that help us sustain commitment and social solidarity. Rather than lament the demise of community, rather than mourn the death of commitment, they actually illuminate micro social psychological structures that will allow us to re-enforce our commitment to each other, to our institutions, and to our organizations. This book delivers what it promises: social commitments in a depersonalized world.
It is a fascinating read the bridges the world of research, academic elegance, and the pragmatic concerns of everyday life.