Тарас Плахтій

Динамічні мережі. Теорія та технологія.

Conditions of Choosing Cooperation Strategies, Rather than Confrontation Strategies, By Organized Elite Groups in the Process of Their Competitive Interaction

Download PDF:  http://ssrn.com/abstract=2270791


The article examines complex influences of group effects and group processes in self-organizing and organizing elite groups, which helped to reveal by applying a systemic approach the factors that condition the choice of aggressive strategies of interaction with similar groups within the national elite. It also demonstrates the conditions of opting for cooperation strategies during competitive interaction of elite groups’ organizations and suggests corresponding algorithms of collective activity of its members.

Key terms: archetypics, systemic approach, group effects, group processes, elite groups, dynamic networks.

This version: May 27, 2013

First published in Ukrainian: February 7, 2013

http://hvylya.org/analytics/society/spivrobitnitstvo-umovi-viboru.html )


Today Ukraine is witnessing the rise of the Gray Pyramid that was allegorically described in detail by Ukrainian philosopher Serhiy Datsiuk in his publication “Surviving the Dark years. Gray Pyramid” [1]. In his interpretation, it is a hierarchical, self-organizing system of the incompetent majority caused by and resulting in social degradation. It prevents professionals, masters, and intellectuals from attaining power, slows down the development and dissemination of knowledge in society, represses, and ruins dissidents and active citizens. According to Serhiy Datsiuk, the Gray Pyramid may be destroyed only by actions of the Intellectual Opposition – i.e. creation of innovations, generation of new senses and meanings, dissemination of new ideas regardless of their acceptability for the majority, etc.

It is clear that realization of the enlisted points requires generating sufficient social energy, as well as implementation of effective mechanisms for uniting and coordinating activity of the Intellectual Opposition. This stimulation, by definition, cannot be manipulative and should function in conformity with the rules of crowd psychology. Thus, the Intellectual Opposition has to unite and create an efficient organization capable of growing in number without losing its qualities and act rationally, increasing the amount of the emanated social energy to tackle the tasks it receives.

The publication “Life Cycle of Organizations of Social Systems Elite Groups” [2] reveals how during the period of rise of the Gray Pyramid, due to adverse living conditions, repressions and oppression on the part of governments and law-enforcement bodies, spiritual crisis and decline of the social morality, society generates a certain number of people who come to reflect on the reasons of their grievous situation and, consequently, on the reasons of the moral and social decline of the entire society. Part of them constructs their own vision of the reasons, of those who are guilty and of ways out of the stagnation; part of them addresses works by prominent thinkers; and part of them borrows this vision from the outside. The received new senses and meanings circulate in the society as political myths [3] that include rational and irrational components in varied balance and have a structure generating quality – i.e. they draw together and unite into self-organizing groups their authors, carriers and proponents. Thus, authors or active carriers of new political myths (hereinafter structure-generating ideas) come up as crystallization centers that spawn self-organizing groups of adherents which unite for the sake of collective activity so as to effect some common aims produced on the basis of the given idea. The first to receive and perceive new senses and meanings in the society are educated representatives of elite groups – they are conscious of their interests and new ideas for them are effective instruments for attaining their purposes. This is why self-organizing groups usually originate from the national elite circles. The intensification of stagnation usually results in the acceleration of creation and/or import of new ideas and as a result structuring their carriers into self-organizing groups. This publication [2] also describes the nature of processes of complete and incomplete metamorphosis of self-organizing structures into organizing ones, which is an important factor in their choice of interaction strategies on the intergroup level.

The important qualities of structure-generating ideas include their motivation potential and ability to capture and maintain the attention of their carriers for a long time, i.e. they turn into dominant in their minds, which will determine their choice of behavioral schemes and strategies, provide energy and coordinate their activity so as to implement the senses and meanings that underlie these ideas. In the information society when ever-increasing external information flow is moderated so as to attain certain targets, which involves their ability to capture and hold the public’s attention, structure-generating ideas have to a great extent lost these qualities, and thus the motivating potential of generating purposeful self-organizing and organizing structures in the environment of elite groups. Therefore, it becomes relevant to search for new alternative motivators capable of mobilizing the members of elite circles and the entire society so they implement the senses and meanings of new structure-generating ideas intended at introducing positive changes into the entire social system.

The article „Principles of Constructing Qualitatively New Political Organization” [4] outlines the conditions that stimulate emerging of inner motivation for collective activity of elite group members in the framework of social and political organizations, as well as approaches to the choice of their structure and management conceptions.

The subject of all Ukrainian social and political organizations according to the relevant organization culture in the framework of their hierarchical construction is the leader or the managing nucleus – a small group of leaders (corporative or oligarchic), which, according to „The Logic of Collective Action” [5] by Mancur Olson, can attain collective interests unlike big groups of common members that cannot implement them. This thesis is the basis of the given analysis – we will view small groups of leaders as Subjects of social and political organizations that exert real power, taking into account that large groups of members and adherents of these organizations are managed by means of instruments studies by psychology of crowd, i.e., charisma, hypnotic influence of leaders, etc. The analysis will also be based on the assumption that the most effective type of “soft power” [6] in the society is the referent quality of successful groups that have real power – all the other society members follow the values, behavior schemes and strategies of the members of such groups. Therefore the main object of the given analysis is small informal self-organizing elite groups that emerge due to the influence of structure-generating ideas on their members and through complete metamorphosis (complete change of the structure) transform themselves into formal organizations. The fact that this choice is correct is corroborated by Edward Afonin’s research [7, 8] that reveals  the stable correlation of power elite group characteristics and intensity of influence of a specific trend in the cultural code of Ukraine, which  gives every reason to claim that characteristics of leading elite groups’ organizations are of decisive significance for the direction of change in the societal mentality of Ukrainian society.

It should be noted that the term “elite” in this research is used in the most general sense – we will view as elite or elite group members as those who think in categories of general social interests, collective benefit, understand the correlation of these interests with their own interests and realize that to attain both it is necessary to join those who have similar ideas in efficient organizations so as to coordinate collective activity.

One of the author’s earlier publications examines the nature of the processes of moral and social decline of the Ukrainian society [9] as a result of complex cumulative impact of a number of social and psychological effects [10] during the election campaign as the arena of competitive interaction of elite groups in the framework of representative action democracy.

Another publication offers a complex archetype model [11] of the structure of the unconscious in societal psychology and defines possible ways of adjusting it available for new Ukrainian elites. One of the components of this model consists in the analysis of any type of a structure-generating idea according to the distribution of archetype invariants it includes, i.e., our inborn concepts of justice, freedom, equality, honor, etc. concerning the “near” and the “alien”. This analysis helps to find out the level of aggression (the tone) of a structure-generating idea regardless of its meaning, as well as predict the process of its modification by formal and informal leaders before and after the metamorphosis of self-organizing elite groups into formal organizations. The suggested approach to viewing structure-generating ideas as instruments for exerting power with unified parameters becomes especially important in the information society, since the role of ideological and religious factors is significantly diminished (these are exactly the factors that used to be employed to effectively unite, direct and coordinate the activity of great numbers of people) as well as the role of personalities as originators of new structure-generating ideas of the necessary level. Even if somebody originates a perfect structure-generating idea in the information society, it stands every chance of getting lost in the avalanche-like information flow – it will go unnoticed; even if it is noticed, it will not be understood; if it is understood, it will not be believed. Even if somebody believes it, these will be separate individuals unable to unite in order to implement it. This brings us to the conclusion that in the information society only large organized groups (on condition that there are no conflicts in the internal interaction of their members) can become collective originators of structure-generating ideas of the necessary level due to their capability to manipulate significant information scope, various profile knowledge and multilevel comprehension, which is physically impossible for one person, even if this person is a genius. Moreover, these ideas as a result of collective creativity will be clear and maximally legitimate to all members of such groups and will equally motivate all of them for active practical work.

By applying a systematic approach [12] in order to generalize the major theses of the above mentioned publications, we will try to outline and substantiate the conditions of choosing cooperation strategies by organized elite groups as opposed to confrontation strategies in the process of their competitive interaction in the framework of representative action democracy.

Long-term systematic interaction of elite group representatives in the framework of a self-organizing structure shaped around a crystallization center (generators or active carriers of a structure-generating idea) launches processes of group dynamics, which, akin to a twister in nature, spawns changes in the mind of its members. What is more, just like in a real twister, when a person is unable to defend himself against the air flow, in the framework of group dynamics, personal qualities, such as somebody’s competence, values, etc, play a lesser role in choosing behavioral schemes and interaction strategies on the intragroup and intergroup levels compared to the impact group processes and effects enforced by the positive reverse relation have on the result on this choice.

To illustrate the interaction and interconnectedness of group effects and processes that take place in the minds of members of such elite groups we will use the scheme of air currents distribution in the epicenter of a tornado (scheme 1). Its model [13] may be represented as a system of multivectorial, spiral-like air currents with an evident intensifying reverse relation which is the cause of the twister’s emergence and acceleration.


Scheme 1. Tornado: structure [13]


By analogy we will consider that the external qualities of the elite group that emerged on the basis of new ideas including their members’ choice of behavior schemes and strategies of interaction on the intragroup and intergroup level are conditioned by the complex influence of interconnected group effects and processes, whose course, like in a real twister, is influenced by a positive – intensifying reverse relation. The aim of this publication consists in revealing, recognition and identification of this reverse relation, which will be discussed further. Now we will only note that the “twister” in the minds of elite group members discharges, directs and channels the energy released during their interaction and can capture and draw to its epicenter other members of elite circles just like air currents do to everything that happens to come in the way of a tornado.

Applying a systematic approach, we will demonstrate how the originator of a  structure-generating idea – the ideologist or its secondary carriers-adherers – after the rise of the crystallization center of the elite group lose control over its classic group dynamics, which as a result of simultaneous complex development of group effects and processes in the members’ minds under the influence of intensifying reverse relation, causes generation and combustion of social energy in personal conflicts, encourages formation and reinforcement of the group frame, results in emergence of a feasible self-organizing and next – organizing group, conditions the group’s choice of confrontation strategies for interaction with one-type groups on the intergroup level that are determined beforehand by this dynamics.

Reverse relations of group effects structure

The systematic interaction of elite group members under the influence of a structure-generating idea spawns in their minds a series of group effects uniform in their action results that outline and fix the group frame. These are the effects of belonging to a group, group favoritism, group egoism, “us versus them”, imitation (position 1, scheme 2). Their joint influence results in molding a group identity of the interaction participants and a clear-cut division into the “near” and “alien”. The more aggressive a structure-generating idea is, the less time it takes to mold and consolidate the group frame it outlines.


Scheme 2. Structure of group effects manifested in systemic interaction of small elite group members

The systematic interaction in the circle of the “near” in the conditions of real or imaginary hostility (suggested by the structure-generating idea) of the environment produces development of the following complex of group effects in the members’ minds – social facilitation, social inhibition, synergy and social laziness (position 2, scheme 2). Their action is selective: the effect of social facilitation is more pronounced among those who contest for informal leadership; the effect of social inhibition passivates outsiders, who are also prone to social laziness; while the effect of synergymanifests itself in collective, conflict-free and coordinated activity of all group members. On the other hand, facilitation is more manifest in solving uniform tasks, while social inhibition complicates tackling complicated tasks, results in primitivization of activity and simplification of problems and encourages search for simple solutions. The joint influence of the indicated group effects results in releasing certain amount of social energy by the group members; most of it is combusted in internal conflicts that accompany the process of ranking among candidates for informal leadership, and the rest is directed outwards to maintain the group frame and ensure interaction with similar groups on the intergroup level. The intensiveness of the social energy release process is conditioned by subjective and objective factors. Objective factors due to their inertness and social resistance to change include, on the one hand, universally accepted values and worldview and ideological social norms, and, on the other hand, the relevant organization culture. The subjective factor consists in the aggression level of the structure-generating idea which in the ranking process on the intragroup and intergroup levels is regulated by apparent informal and later formal leaders.

Identification of informal leaders and the further activity of the group under their management makes manifest the following complex of effects: group thinking, influence of the active minority and Dunning – Kruger effect [14]  (position 3, scheme 2). The latter effect consists in the fact that people with a low competence level make wrong conclusions and take erroneous decisions but cannot recognize their mistakes due to their low competence level. Certain of their infallibility, such group members are prone to organizing an active minority that can quickly seize the leadership pushing more competent but insecure members aside from the processes of making and taking decisions. It is intensified by the effect of group thinking [15] manifested in a consolidated group under conditions when the search for consensus becomes so dominant that comes to outweigh the realistic estimation of possible alternative variants of decisions or actions. Therefore members grow to be dependent on the group in their contacts with the environment and in most cases they are inclined to yield to the group. As a result, social pressure can distort even sensory information and under the group pressure a person can claim that a white object is in fact black.

The joint influence of this complex of effects in some time results in concentration of power with an active, incompetent but confident minority, which leads to emergence and intensification of the following complex of effects – conformism and subordination that passivate people and make them ready to execute the leaders’ decisions (position 4, scheme 2). These two effects are intensified due to our psychological readiness to escape the responsibility for what is going on and transfer it to anybody else even at the cost of our own freedom of choice, which results in gradual and irreversible subordination to leaders.

These effects lead to the development of the “halo” effect that makes people believe in the infallibility of their leaders and the group itself, idealize and ascribe better qualities to them (position 5, scheme 2). This nourishes conditions for cult of the leader, which implies conscious usage of the leader’s charisma for manipulative, extra-conscious management of large masses of adherents that emerge under the influence of a structure-generating idea of a social and political organization in case of a dramatic growth of its membership.

The “halo” effect results in the intensification of a complex of group effects that reinforce the outlined group framework (position 1, scheme 2), which in accordance with the above described structure scheme in its turn intensifies the influence of the other mentioned complexes of group effects.

Thus, we have discovered the cyclic interrelation among complexes of social and psychological effects, whose joint influence results in intensification of each individual effect. According to the systematic approach, it is a positive or intensifying reverse relation of group effects structure in the minds of the members of an elite group established under the influence of a structure-generating idea.

The main result of the described intensifying reverse relation is creation of a consolidated elite group with a specific informal leader and his entourage vested with subjectness (the ability to generate, take and execute decisions aimed at implementing formulated group interests in the context of a structure-generating idea) and shows hostility, mistrust and aggression towards the other members of the parent group and their associations as one of the circles of the national elite.

The described intensifying reverse relation makes up a part of the reverse relation that encompasses all the inter-enclosed group levels in the framework of global elites of the human society. Thus, if a structure-generating idea emerges in a segment of the national elite (in the framework of a specific parent elite group), competitor groups of higher levels will strive to weaken the parent group by splitting it, they will encourage the emergence of rival factions within it, instigating conflicts among them, intensification of centrifugal processes, etc. Meanwhile failing to come back to the status quo, the parent group will try to detach the dissidents.

The negative stabilizing reverse relation in this case lies in the consolidation of the parent group as a result of competition with other groups in the framework of higher group levels. That is to say, to more aggressive the environment is towards the parent group, the weaker is its tendency to create crystallization center on the basis of alternative structure-generating ideas.

Thus, we have outlined a model of the complex impact of group effects on the emergence and rise of new elite groups under the influence of structure-generating ideas in the framework of specific national elite circles that takes into account intensifying and stabilizing reverse relations within the group and among higher level groups and allows to analyze dynamics and foresee the positioning of newly established groups within these circles.

Reverse relation of group interaction processes in the framework of classical group dynamics

Just like in a tornado, whose distribution of interrelated multivertorial air currents is illustrated at scheme 1, there is a mutually conditioned and simultaneous with the group effects development of a complex of group processes going on in the minds of the members of an elite self-organizing group that emerged under the influence of a structure-generating idea (scheme 3).


Scheme 3. Structure of group processes that develop in systemic interaction of small elite group members

That is to say, long-term interaction of the members of an elite self-organizing group and discussion of the same ideas in a relatively steady circle results in the development of classic group dynamics based on our ethological [16] nature and ranking process conditioned by it. The classic group dynamics eventually results in the establishment of stable and recognized by all members group norms and rules of interaction, development of corresponding relations between the self-organizing group members, competition and confrontation of potential informal leaders, conflicts for leadership, stabilization of the group activity determined as a result of a conflict by the informal leader, creation and securing of an informal hierarchy and exclusion of those who disagree from the group. This provides conditions for a complete metamorphosis of the self-organizing group into a formal organization; consequently, its leaders receive legitimate instruments for coercion to collective activity aimed at attaining group objectives.

Becoming a member of a self-organizing group and being there on the interaction position of “equal to equal”, carriers of similar varieties of the same idea are striving to occupy as high status positions in the group as possible and as a maximum to become a monocratic leader. The need for leadership is closely connected to the reproduction process and thus it is one of the basic ones in Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, which will be further discussed in detail.

Therefore, along with the need to unite with people who have similar ideas for the sake of collective implementation of the senses and meanings of a structure-generating idea, a member of the self-organizing group is also realizing his biological need for leadership in the process of ranking with other members, which is usually not reflected on but rather happens unconsciously and automatically.

The natural human need for leadership among the group members who compete from the initial positions of “equal to equal” with the possibility of a direct personal conflict inevitably initiates the process of their choosing aggressive confrontation strategies in order to achieve as high a status in the group as possible –the status of the informal leader as a maximum (position 1, scheme 3).

This launches the ranking process – an open conflict among candidates for leadership which channels most of the social energy released for it by the interaction participants (position 2, scheme 3).

The conflict results in determining the informal leader and his entourage. The emergence of the informal leader and consolidation of his status conditions the beginning of the process of concentration of absolute power and control over resources in his hands (position 3, scheme 3).

The processes of power and resources concentration in the leaders’ hands intensify the mutually conditioned processes of passivation and subordination of all the other group members, which is in line with the desire of the latter to decline responsibility for perceiving, recognizing and analyzing information, producing and taking decisions in dubious situations in exchange for accepting the power of those who are ready to do this (position 4, scheme 3).

All of these factors initiate change of the concepts of success strategies and result in an adjusting shift of the value scale to the worse. As a result, new group norms emerge which make acceptable and tolerable aggressive behavior both towards other members and the external environment participants and their associations (position 5, scheme 3).

The change in the conception of successful interaction strategies and value scale shift result in the intensification of the processes of opting for even more aggressive strategies of competing for informal leadership both within the group and on the intergroup level (position 1, scheme 3). All of these factors together produce an intensifying reverse relation of the group processes structure; this relation is mutually conditioned and implemented simultaneously with the identical intensifying reverse relation of the group effects structure that was examined above.

Thus, the development of the above described complexes of group effects and processes that are mutually related through simultaneous intensifying reverse relations results in conditioned and molded by them striving for leadership in a small elite group as an integral unit and correspondingly its activation for participation in the intergroup ranking process with other similar groups in the framework of a large group at the next level.

The temporal unfolding  of the above described intensifying reverse relations results in choosing increasingly more aggressive behavior strategies by interaction participants both on the intragroup and intergroup levels, concentration of power and resources in the leaders’ hands, subordination and passivation of the everybody else, destruction of the trust field and moral and spiritual degradation of the group members as a result of shifts in their deep values and concepts of successful behavior schemes and strategies.

The above described intensifying reverse relation of the group processes structure in a small elite group is a component of a wider intensifying reverse relation at the intergroup level. Its transformation into confrontation via competition consolidates a lower level group and makes its ordinary members obey the leaders encouraging concentration of power in their hands in order to overcome external challenges and for effective ranking at the intergroup level.

Under such a development of group processes, a stabilizing reverse relation consists in the inertness of socio-cultural, axiological, worldview and ideological norms that prevent the rival parties from choosing aggressive strategies that transcend them.

Balance of the strength of influence of the intensifying and stabilizing reverse relations determines the direction of shift of the society’s value scale, its level of degradation or welfare and correspondingly the amount of the social energy spent of the mutual struggle of its members and their associations. We may claim that this balance in general determines the effectiveness of this or that society.

Therefore, systemic interaction of elite circle members in a small self-organizing group that emerged under the influence of structure-generating ideas initiates launching and development of interrelated complexes of group effects and processes conditioned by classical group dynamics and produce intensifying reverse relations in their structure.Moreover, these relations are manifested regardless of the meaning of structure-generating ideas, as well as thoughts, intentions and desires of group members, who do not usually think about their existence and influence. What’s more, being in the epicenter of intensifying reverse relations of the structures of mutually conditioned group effects and processes, members and especially group leaders consider the chosen behavior schemes and strategies rational and self-evident and the choice itself, in their opinion, is free, irrespective and not regulated from within. Thus, they accept the rules and get themselves involved in a zero sum game where one participant’s gain equates to another participant’s loss and which is impossible to get out of as long as you are inside the system.

Scheme 4 shows a model of interaction of elites on different mutually enclosed levels of the human civilization as a multi-level socio-system, and at each level competition transforms into confrontation in relation of the groups that belong to them that acquire, realize and implement the yearning for leadership in the process of intergroup ranking.


Scheme 4. Loops of intensifying and stabilizing reverse relations in social systems – hierarchically structures organizations of elite groups

Just like with primary small groups, whose intensifying reverse relations of group effects and processes structures are represented at schemes 2 and 3, we can single out identical cycles of such reverse relations for elite groups at each of the higher mutually enclosed levels; and these relations together encompass all levels of elite groups of the human civilization.

The same method may be used to represent also a stabilizing reverse relation that produces resistance to change due to inertness of the socio-system, in this case to the choice of aggressive strategies by participants of intragroup and intergroup interaction. Moreover, the influence of the stabilizing reverse relation directly depends on quality and quantity parameters of the civil society – the stronger the civil society is, the more complicated it is to cause change in the socio-system. For instance, opting for aggressive and manipulative strategies at election campaign in countries with strong civil society is fraught with deprecation, image and election losses, which helps to maintain the social concepts of success in the framework of the actual values. While in countries with weak civil society that cannot adequately respond to the choice of negative strategies, such strategies bring to power those who are ready to transgress actual values and norms, which results in change of the conception of success and moves the actual value scale to the worse.

The model represented at scheme 4 may be used to analyze and interpret various historical events, situations and phenomena. For instance, transformation of democracies into oligarchies, conversion of oligarchies into dictatorships, formation of totalitarian regimes in democracies, avalanche-like escalation of repression in totalitarianism, lack of appreciable social resistance to repression, spiritual and moral degradation of the societies in totalitarian countries, etc.

This model well illustrates the reasons for the endless splitting of Ukrainian democratic in their nature social and political organizations: on the basis of insignificant diversions from the initial structure-generating idea within each of them new self-organizing groups emerge. Due to the development of the cyclic structures of group effects and processes described in the model, these groups in some time formalize into new affiliates hostile to the parent organization. When interacting with other similar groups they opt for aggressive confrontation strategies. This, coupled with lack of direct coercion in democratic societies, as well as strict hierarchical structure characteristic of such groups, makes it impossible for them to reverse the process and reunite into one unified powerful organization on the basis of a generalizing structure-generating idea, unless force is applied.

Self-inductive model of elite group activity

Each elite group that emerged as a result of influence of structure-generating ideas intends to implement their senses and meanings, which requires a lot of social energy. Let us view the latter concept in the general interdisciplinary sense, i.e., as energy required for changing the social system without strictly associating it with any of its known concepts.

In this context, important questions concern its sources and methods of generation, accumulation and effective employment.

We will single out two interrelated and mutually conditioned components of social energy – ethological and mythological. Let us consider the first one to be a result of the desire to satisfy the needs of the lower basic levels of Maslow pyramid, while the second one goes for the needs of its higher levels. The political myth itself is a social superstructure over the biological nature of the human being and it is based on the basic needs of ensuring survival and reproduction, therefore the division of social energy into these two components is quite relative and it is difficult to draw a clear-cut line between them.

Under such an approach, the source of mythological energy consists in structure-generating ideas that resonate with structures of societal mentality and consequently can capture human minds, turning into a dominant in their minds that will determine their choice of behavior schemes and strategies, activate, consolidate and direct their activity in order to implement the senses and meanings of these ideas. The concept of “structure-generating idea” includes separate stories, concepts, theories, models, visions and their logically structured complexes, i.e., ideologies, religions, etc.

The source of ethological energy lies in the natural need of living organisms to propagate so as to continue their genus, develop and improve their species through natural selection. It includes two interrelated and mutually conditioned components – sexual energy that introduces the behavior dominant in corresponding periods of human development as a biological species so as to realize the process of reproduction; and ranking energy released so as to ensure natural selection of the strongest individuals for the sake of development and improvement of their biological species. It is ethological energy that provides the basis for group effects studied by social psychology, i.e., social facilitation, when presence of other people makes us became more active; and social inhibition, when presence of other people passivates us.

It is clear that the first effect is characteristic of the self-organizing groups where the ranking process is under way; while the second one for those where this process is complete, and the determined informal leaders are active and ready for interaction on the intergroup level as carriers of their groups’ subjectness while everybody else gets passivated and without special measures (direct or indirect manipulative coercion on the part of the leaders) leaves the group. Therefore completion of the ranking process results in ceasing the release of social energy, which makes the determined informal leaders resort to radicalization of the structure-generating idea itself by forming the image of the enemy, and transform the self-organizing group into a formal organization aimed at legitimate application of ideological and directive coercion instruments to activate the masses.

Thus, a component of ethological energy – ranking energy – is generated by all of us when interacting in different groups. In this sense, it is released in interaction of social groups, layers, classes, nations and civilization. It is mostly channeled in the conflict that accompanies the ranking process and determines who is the strongest at the moment.

This approach to the understanding of energy sources establishes two mutually conditioned methods of generating it to produce social change. The first method consists in generating and introducing a structure-generating idea of a relevant level into elite circles. This idea must be capable of consolidating its carriers for collective activity aimed at implementing its senses and meanings. The second method consists in organizing orderly interaction of the structure-generating idea carriers, which enables us to release the maximum amount of energy and channel it to implement its senses and meanings, i.e., minimize its combustion in interpersonal and intergroup conflicts during ranking.

The fact that both types of social energy are mutually conditioned allows us to speak of their self-induction in the framework of an elite group by analogy with the corresponding phenomenon in physics – emergence of electromotive force in a conductor when changing electric current in it.

Thus, the social energy released by the members of a self-organizing elite group to realize the higher needs of Maslow pyramid actualized by a structure-generating idea is conditioned by the phenomenon of self-induction – their release of ethological energy to realize one of the basic needs of this pyramid, i.e., ranking as an integral component of the need to reproduce actualized by the interaction within the group whose integrity is maintained by the initially released social energy.

The released social energy is accumulated as resource (financial), power and symbolic capital [17] owned or managed by the Subject of the organization – he, who produces and takes decisions for implementing realized collective or personal interests. The owners or leaders can convert these types of capital into each other, as well as reuse them so as to get social energy by activating members of elite group organizations and masses through material stimulation, resorting to manipulative information influence or direct coercion.

Let us examine the model of elite group activity depicted at scheme 5.


Scheme 5. Self-inductive model of elite group activity

Having captured the members of an elite circle, the structure-generating idea makes them unite into self-organizing groups aimed at implementing senses and meanings that are embedded at it. In other words, it activates them by actualizing higher needs of Maslow pyramid, which results in releasing social energy necessary to satisfy these needs. The released energy is spent on maintaining and securing the unity of the group and on collective activity of its members. Their systematic interaction in the framework of a self-organizing group  leads to manifestation of a sequence of group effects whose  complex action intensifies each individual effect. This, in its turn, spawns a series of structured complexes of group processes, whose complex action synchronized with group effects intensifies the impact of each process. Group effects and processes produce corresponding loops of intensifying and cyclically recurring reverse relations that provide the basis for group dynamics which in succession leads the group into certain states, meanwhile ensuring its formation, functioning and development. At the same time, they together produce the phenomenon of self-induction of ethological energy, most of which is combusted in inter-group conflicts during the members’ ranking, and the remainder with part of the social energy induced by the structure-generating idea is channeled outside as its modified extensions and activity aimed at their implementation. Part of the energy that was released outside is spent on intergroup ranking, and the other part is used to overcome social inertness and resistance to change.

Self-induction of ethological energy in self-organizing groups is a short-term phenomenon which lasts until the ranking process is complete. Therefore when during ranking informal leaders substitute position of subordination for equal-to-equal position, they put an end to the release of ethological energy by the group members, which results in the loss of deep senses that draw them to each other, being an important factor of keeping the group together. The loss of the deep senses of interaction and pressure on the part of informal leaders shortly result in degradation and collapse of the group. To save the unity and correspondingly the capacity to function, as well as to secure the further generation of ethological energy (which stops after the ranking process is over) by the members informal leaders initiate the process of full metamorphosis of the group into a formal organization to get legitimate instruments of coercing all the other members into collective activity. Apart from this, by radicalizing the structure-generating idea and thus creating the image of the enemy, they moderate the members’ conception of real and virtual response of the environment to the group’s activity, which helps them to consolidate the group and intensify the release of the mythological and ethological components of social energy channeled outside as aggression. This modification results in the alteration of the structure-generating idea’s shade from light to darker and corresponding shift of relevant social values, norms and rules of behavior. This allows informal (and then formal) leaders to use straight directive management as well as ideological one, to coordinate the collective activity of the group members and regulate their release of ethological and mythological energy. Another method of manipulative management and activation of ordinary organization members that leaders frequently resort to consists in application and sacralization [18] of such attributes as initiation, consecration, oath, honor, sacred duty, brotherhood, rituals etc. All the above mentioned measures used to maintain the unity and increase the effectiveness of organized elite groups make their leaders opt for aggressive strategies of interaction with similar groups on the intergroup level. Moreover, this choice seem natural and rational to them, although it by definition destroys the field of trust within the national elite, results in constant division and splitting of its social and political organizations, and generally weakens and causes degradation of the entire society.

It is important to understand that the influence of structure-generating ideas on the ranking process determines the amount of the remainder of social energy channeled outside after using it up in intragroup conflicts. If these conflicts become more intense, it can even result in complete extinguishment of the mythological energy released under the influence of a structure-generating idea, which will result in the group’s collapse and absolute passivation of its members.

Stabilization of the group’s activity after ranking is over and after its turning into an organization for some time allows to avoid the risk of collapse, stops intergroup and interpersonal conflicts and ensures effective usage of the social energy releases by the members, while, having become aware of their interests, the leaders start to systematically use this social energy to satisfy these interests in accordance with Michels’ «iron law of oligarchy».

Stabilization of the activity of a self-organizing group after its metamorphosis into a formal hierarchical structure can be lasting and effective only in authoritarian organizations, where leaders resort to the tools of direct, ideological or manipulative coercion to activate ordinary members. Even imitation of democracy results in irreversible degradation and collapse of rigid hierarchical organizations due to the decline of the role or disappearance altogether of coercion instruments, unless the leaders consciously mitigate the hierarchy itself by introducing working democratic mechanisms of the redistribution of power, property and information over the entire structure. If the leaders, owners or employers of social and political organizations opt for financial stimulation as a means of activating their members, this corporate organization turns into an instrument that lacks subjectness and by definition has no personal interests; it without doubt implements the interests of the leaders or employers but just as long as finance is provided.

It explains, for instance, the stability and unity of Ukrainian pro-government parties; the tendency of the democratic organizations of the oppositional sector to continuously split; the infamous collapse of multiple large-scale social and political organization of the corporate type after cessation of financing etc.

Discovery of the “lever” application point

Systematic approach aims at discovering in its processes structure a “lever” application point – substantiated, verified and well-directed actions that can ensure significant and stable improvement of the system condition.

The above described analysis was made so as to discover such a point in the structure of group processes that develop in the framework of social and political organizations. A purposeful influence on this point might result in a radical improvement of their efficiency; encourage general development of all the members, while the growth of their number will not affect the coordination of collective activity; attach new positive super-system qualities to the organization, which in general will help it as an integral large group to develop subjectness, i.e., the ability to make, take and execute its decisions in a rational plane.

In the case under consideration, the “lever” application point in group processes structure represented at schemes 4 and 5 seems to be elimination on the systematic level of chances for direct personal and intergroup conflicts aimed at long-term retaining of elite circles members within social and political organizations on the position of equal-to-equal.

This will allow to change the development of the classic group dynamics and ensure the choice of cooperation strategies by interaction participants both on the intragroup and intergroup levels. The emergence within the national elite of such an effective elite group that plays by different rules (not the ones that lead political actors to aggressive confrontation strategies) will in some time result in positive quality change of the entire society.

One of the most effective methods to overcome intragroup and intergroup conflicts is algorithmization and regulation of the interaction of organization members by introducing variable organization structures, as well as application in their activity of modern approaches of project and process management. An example of a variable structure of social and political organizations is a dynamic network [19, 20] that arranges and keeps conflict-free its members’ interaction by cyclically restructuring them into small groups with different functional designation according to a certain algorithm, which ensures generation and making of collective decisions by these members from positions of equal-to-equal, as well as their implementation in the complex of temporary hierarchical executive project and process groups headed by responsible performers in positions of temporary, conscious and voluntary subordination.

Under such conditions personal conflicts in subdivisions of the social and political organization are surmounted by keeping the members at their every interaction step on the position of equal-to-equal by giving them the status of representatives of other functional groups where they were working at the previous stage. Only in this status will they be able to effectively overcome the pressure of informal leaders. This method of cross-interaction of organization members also allows overcoming conflicts of small elite groups within a large one, i.e., an entire organization or its subdivisions.

Reverse relations of group processes structure under conditions of conflict- free interaction of the members of social and political organizations

Generation and introduction of effective systemic mechanisms for overcoming intragroup and intergroup conflicts in elite circles organizations as one of the types of soft power will result in a major change of the development of classic group dynamics in its members’ interaction process. In its turn, this will help to solve the scaling problem, i.e., there will be no more limitations of the number of members in the organization who can collectively generate, take and implement decisions in the rational plane.

Let us examine the structure of group processes that will develop under such conditions.

Group interaction under any conditions activates every group member and makes him release ethological energy for the ranking process so as to attain leadership. However, due to elimination of direct personal and intergroup conflicts on the systemic level as a result of algorithmization and regulation of the interaction itself, its participants are bound to opt for cooperation strategies for collective implementation of the senses and meanings of the initial structure-generating idea that spawned the elite group (position 1, scheme 6).


Scheme 6. Structure of group processes in basic small groups of national elite organizations with variable structure

Thus, all the ethological energy released by the group members as well as mythological energy generated by them under the influence of the structure-generating idea will be accumulated (position 2, scheme 6) and channeled for even, maximally legitimate and just division of power, responsibility, reward and conditional work among the organization members (position 3, scheme 6), as well as for keeping them active in the process of collective work (position 4, scheme 6). Under such conditions, the status of a group member will directly depend on his competence, honesty and personal contribution to the implementation of collective objectives.

The complex of the processes described will result in change of the concept of success strategy and will condition positive correction of deep values, group norms and rules of behavior of group members (position 5, scheme 6).

All of these factors together will intensify the tendency of opting for cooperation strategies at the intragroup level (position 1, scheme 6), which attests to the fact that the group processes have a cyclic structure which in totality generates an intensifying reverse relation. Its development in time will lead to consolidation and maintenance of unity of a small functional group, development of aspiration for leadership in it and will make it opt for cooperation strategies in interaction with similar groups at the intergroup level in the framework of the entire organization or its separate subdivisions. That is to say, it will make the interaction participants accept the rules and participate in non-zero-sum game where players are trying to gain benefit by cooperating with each other.

The stabilizing reverse relation in this case as well consists in the inertness of socio-cultural, axiological and worldview and ideological norms. It produces social resistance to the spread of positive change, but if the intensifying reverse relation is stronger that the stabilizing one, the deep values of the organization members will quickly shift to the better. The fact that this shift is quite realistic was proved in Stanford prison experiment [21], although it was designed to prove the contrary. However, this experiment demonstrated that it is possible to quickly change deep values of participants under condition that they remain on interaction positions suggested by coordinators, even if for a short time.


Scheme 7. Loops of intensifying and stabilizing reverse relations in social systems – organizations of elite groups with a variable structure

The choice of cooperation strategies within a social and political organization shaped under the influence of humanistic structure-generating ideas will certainly result in its opting for corresponding constructive cooperation strategies in the process of interaction with other social and political organizations of the national level in the framework of non-zero-sum game (scheme 7). This will encourage them to play by new rules and offer these rules to the other interaction participants within the national elite. Moreover, rather than suggesting these rules from the position of a weak player, they will acts from that of a stronger, more efficient and better organized political subject. The emergence of as little as one organization of this type will induce change of the traditional rules of interaction of social and political organizations within the national elite and will encourage all of them to opt for cooperation strategies. This will help to generate a trust field within national elite circles and result in consolidation of their collective activity aimed at developing and fostering welfare of Ukrainian society. As a result of reorganization of the hierarchically structured national elite groups into more efficient organization structures, the activity of the national elite will become successful, and this might produce a positive effect on the interaction of global level actors, which via reverse relations will have a positive influence on all the other mutually enclosed levels.

Thus, the main condition of choosing cooperation strategies by organized elite groups as opposed to confrontation strategies in the process of their competitive interaction within the national elite consists in the elimination on the system level of possibilities for direct personal and intergroup conflicts so as to keep the interaction of elite circles members in the framework of social and political organizations on the equal-to-equal position for as long as possible. The other as important and by default necessary condition consists in the availability of humanistic senses and meanings that correspond to cooperation in the structure-generating ideas that provided the basis for emergence of these elite groups.


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Травень 28, 2013 - Posted by | Динамічні мережі

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