Much ado about globalization has occurred over the past two decades. Spurred by technology, the ease of travel and our never-ending appetite for cheap products, our globe has seemingly grown smaller as more and more cultures connect to do business.
However, trends are often accompanied by counter-trends. This simply means that a segment of the population pulls in the opposite direction as a means to counter a trend they do not like. For example, the modern trend of ever-present technology is increasingly facing a counter-trend of ‘unplugging’. There are vacations designed to help people unplug and even recovery groups for those addicted to technology (similar to AA).
Europe is currently in the midst a major counter-trend against globalization. It is called tribalism and I believe that its’ impact will signal a major change in the globalization norms we have experienced in recent decades. Tribalism refers to a way of thinking or behaving that places your loyalty with your ‘tribe’ (a group with whom you share affinity) rather than to your country, social group or friends. While globalization has quietly turned us into a global village, tribalism seeks to ensure that we take care of the needs of our own little village first! Here are two examples of how tribalism is currently manifesting itself in Europe.
The counter trend of tribalism also manifests itself in our workplaces. For example, business departments that seek their own needs ahead of the company they work for are demonstrating an aspect of tribalism. Concerns about members of the same family working for the same company or department (typically called nepotism) also relate to concerns about tribalism.
In a globalized world, the lines between different cultures are becoming blurred. Globalism is the process of expanding world trade, contacts between societies, and the sharing of ideas around the world. Tribalism, on the other hand, is the practice of identifying with one’s own tribe or group and feeling loyalty to its members. So what is globalism versus tribalism, and what are the pros and cons of each?
Globalism has many benefits to society. First, it promotes sharing of ideas between cultures, breaking down barriers between people and helping to build bridges between them. This can lead to greater understanding between different groups, fostering greater peace and cooperation in the world. Globalism also encourages economic growth and development, as companies are able to tap into new markets and consumers have access to a wider range of goods and services. Finally, globalism can help protect the environment by promoting sustainable practices and increasing efficiency.
However, there are also some drawbacks to globalism. One of the biggest concerns is that it can lead to the homogenization of cultures, with traditional ways of life being lost as people adopt more Westernized lifestyles. Additionally, globalism can widen the gap between rich and poor, as those who are already well-off tend to benefit more from new economic opportunities. Finally, globalism can also lead to environmental degradation, as companies look to cut costs and maximize profits.
So what is globalism versus tribalism? In a nutshell, globalism is the process of expanding world trade and contacts between different cultures, while tribalism is the practice of identifying with one’s own group and feeling loyalty to its members. There are both pros and cons to each approach, but ultimately it’s up to each individual to decide which path is right for them.
Globalism and tribalism and complex issues that I cannot adequately debate in this short blog. However, awareness about this tug of war between global and tribal priorities is something that we each need to develop. Expect it to continue to increase in significance in the decade ahead.
Jeff Suderman is a futurist, consultant, and professor who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman Email: email@example.com