One’s personal independence varies continuously in degree and over time. We must engage others to obtain resources, meet needs, and self-actualize. Thus, we all participate in a collective—a family, group, culture, organization, or the larger society. Members share a common vision, belief, value, need, goal, interest, or principle. Cohesiveness is the degree of mutual attraction or benefit experienced by members. If any collective serves its purpose well, cohesiveness is usually strengthened.
In large cohesive societies, members enjoy stable and available employment; freedom from economic hardship and debt; adequate living conditions; good health, and positive emotions such as hope and life satisfaction. Social networks provide mutual support, information, trust, and financial credit. There is a perception of harmony; a sense of belongingness; a climate of predictability, and tolerance for diversity. Members feel invested, and find meaning in participation.
Whether in groups or the larger society, effective representative leadership guides sound decision-making, healthy growth, and a positive public perception. Cohesion is strengthened when leaders actively promote, reinforce, and reward such values as integrity, ethics, loyalty, and personal responsibility.
The most successful and cohesive groups and societies are those which contribute to both internal and external human development.