Gemeinschaftsgefühl and Koinonia: Biblical and Adlerian Parallels and Implications for Human and Organization Development

This paper represents an attempt to compare the meanings and foundations of the Adlerian concept of Gemeinschaftsgefühl and the Biblical concept of Koinonia, their relationships and implications to human and organization development. Central to the two concepts is the centrality of community as a vital component of human life. With the recent trends indicating and massive increase and spread of individualism, and with the emerging attempted responses, there is potential danger in accepting the fusion and merging of concepts without investigating their compatibility and validity. Such attempts run the possible risks of mixing up unrelated ideas, which may result in frustrations that accompany the attendant impracticability of the process. This study pursues the philosophical and historical foundations of Gemeinschaftsgefühl as well as the biblical theological meanings of koinonia and as a result establishes definite points of convergence and departure and the implications to human and organization development. The thoughts are reflected from the perspective of a reformed theologian pursuing the meaning of Gemeinschaftsgefühl as a major principle of Adlerian theory. With the Bible as key tool upon which the Adlerian concept is interrogated, community life is acknowledged by both viewpoints as a central aspect of human life whose quality is a vital measure of individual health. The result is a working understanding upon which communal life can be built in both human and organizational context. It is hoped that this study would provide a springboard upon which further investigations on the relationships and implications of the concepts to human and organization development can be advanced as well as provide a framework upon which further research can be undertaken.

Dan K. Kidha
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