Relational Abundance Survey Results and Findings — as of May 11, 2015

by Sheri Chaney Jones, Vibrancy steward, President of Measurement Resources, author of Impact & Excellence (Jossey-Bass 2014) and Jim Ritchie-Dunham


Over 2,700 responses to the Relational Abundance Survey suggest that where people experience high vibrancy, they also tend to find highly effective groups and collaborative leadership. The data also show that where people describe an experience of high vibrancy, they describe a high level of vibrancy experienced in all five primary relationships – to the self, other, group, nature (creative process), and spirit (creative source).

Technical Summary

Vibrancy’s steward for statistical analysis and experimental design, Sheri Chaney Jones, analyzed 2,773 responses to the Relational Abundance survey. Her analysis shows that:

  • Significant correlations were found between all facets of relational abundance, group effectiveness, and leader quality. These findings suggest that it is important to focus on all five aspects of relational abundance (self, other, group, nature, spirit) and not one single aspect alone. None of the correlations exceed .8, suggesting that multicollinearity is not a problem in these analyses.
  • The five aspects of relational abundance explain 42% of the variation in group effectiveness ratings, meaning that relational abundance alone drives a significant portion of group effectiveness.
  • In addition to the facets of relational abundance, leadership quality is also found to be a predictor of group effectiveness. When leadership quality is added into a regression model with relationship to self, group, and spirit (creative source), they explain 55% of the variance of group effectiveness.


Surveys were collected from 615 group members in over 18 countries representing a variety of groups. This dataset does not include data from a global network that adds 74 countries to the database. The sample was comprised of 46% males and 54% females. The majority of participants had some level of post-secondary education and were thinking about a group related to their employment. Most participants were regular participating members. Table 1 displays the characteristics of the survey respondents.

Table 1. Survey Participants Characteristics
Gender Role with Organization
Male 32% Leader or primary organizer 19%
Female 27% Regular participating member 36%
Missing 41% Occasional participating member 7%
Uncategorized/unknown 38%
Highest Education Level Group Type
Primary school .3% Work group where paid 38%
Some high school .8% Church group 1%
High school graduate 2% Community, civic group 7%
Some college 6% Sports team .7%
College graduate 33% Family 4%
Advanced degree 27% Other 9%
Missing/Unclassified 32% Missing 40%
Group Size Years Group Existed
Less than 10 24% Less than 1 7%
10 to 50 39% 1-3 15%
51 to 100 10% 4-7 12%
101 to 1000 10% More than 7 44%
Over 1000 5% Missing 22%
Missing 11%
Years Involved
Less than 1 16% 4-7 17%
1-3 28% More than 7 27%
Missing 14%

Five Facets of Relational Abundance

Group members who participated in this survey responded to five different facets of relational abundance: group experiences related to the self, experiences with other individuals in the group, experiences of the whole group, the process of innovation in the group, and the source of creativity in the group. Group members rated the extent to which they agreed with statements on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 indicating favorable agreement with positive statements about the group. Results of data analyzed show that all measured facets of relational abundance were positive, with the means of all scores above the mid-point response of 3.0 (see Table 2). Although the majority of participants indicated experiencing favorable levels of all facets of relational abundance, Figure 1 shows that there were survey participants who experienced neutral and unfavorable levels. Responses to source of creativity received the lowest means score compared to the other responses.

Table 2. Relational Abundance Descriptive Statistics
N Min Max Mean Std. Dev.
Self 2773 1.00 5.00 3.96 0.91
Other 2767 1.00 5.00 3.91 0.79
Group 2763 1.00 5.00 3.98 0.82
Creative Process 581 1.00 5.00 3.91 1.01
Creative Source 2687 1.00 5.00 3.52 0.93

Fig 1 050115a

Relational Abundance and Sample Characteristics

Overall, the trends in the facets of relational abundance were consistent across survey demographics and differences in levels of relational abundance were not found between groups. Three exceptions were found in the analysis. First, education level was positively correlated with self, other and group facets of relational abundance. Participants with higher educational levels reported more favorable ratings of these facets compared to those with lower levels of education. This could be the result of many things, such as more choice in work environments or the groups they chose to describe.

In addition, a significant negative relationship was found between all relational abundance facets and group size. The smaller the group, the more likely participants were to rate higher levels of vibrancy experienced. Additionally, the length of time the group has been established is also negatively correlated to all relational abundance facets. The more time a group has been in existence, the less favorable ratings of relational abundance were reported. Although these differences exist, the average overall ratings for both large groups and greater longevity are still favorable.

Leadership Quality

In addition to relational abundance, participants were asked about their leadership structure and their perception of leadership quality in the group. Nearly half of the participants (49%) reported that they have a designated leader of their group, another 40% reported that leadership is shared, 6% indicated leadership rotates and another 5% indicated there is some other type of leadership model.

Similar to relational abundance, on average, participants rated their leadership quality and group well-being favorably. These constructs were assessed using a 5-point Likert scale where 1 = almost never true and 5 = almost always true. In addition to these questions, participants were asked to give an overall rating of the quality of leadership where 1=extremely poor and 5=exceptional. Table 3 highlights the ratings for group well-being, leadership quality, and overall leadership ratings. Figure 2 displays the variance of these three constructs.

Table 3. Leadership Quality Descriptive Statistics
N Min Max Mean Std. Dev.
Group Wellbeing 2789 1.00 5.00 3.98 0.75
Leadership Quality 2878 1.00 5.00 3.81 0.99
Overall Leadership Rating 2901 1.00 5.00 3.69 0.95

Fig 2 050115a

Group Effectiveness

Results of the overall group effectiveness measure show that respondents have favorable attitudes toward their group’s effectiveness. 66% of respondents rated their group as either “Excellent” or “Above Average” at meeting its purpose, with only 7% characterizing their group’s performance as “Extremely Poor” or “Below Average.” The average group effectiveness rating was 3.79 with a 0.87 standard deviation. Figure 3 highlights this relationship.

Fig 3 050115a

Relational Abundance and Group Effectiveness

Significant correlations were found between all facets of relational abundance, group effectiveness, and leader quality. These findings suggest that it is important to focus on all aspects of relational abundance and not one single facet. All correlations are displayed in Table 4. None of the correlations exceed .8, suggesting that multicollinearity is not a problem in these analyses.


Table 4: Correlations
Group Well-Being Leader Quality Overall Leader Rating Self Other Group Nature (Creative Process) Spirit (Creative Source) Group Effectiveness
Leader Quality Pearson Correlation .517 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000
N 2747 2878
Overall Leader Rating Pearson Correlation .448 .721 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000
N 2766 2864 2901
Self Pearson Correlation .445 .705 .565 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000
N 2637 2741 2763 2773
Other Pearson Correlation .447 .724 .514 .719 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000
N 2632 2735 2757 2763 2767
Group Pearson Correlation .490 .741 .595 .750 .750 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 2628 2730 2753 2759 2758 2763
Nature (Creative Process) Pearson Correlation .421 .670 .528 .688 .667 .726 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 2489 2583 2603 2599 2596 2596 2603
Spirit (Creative Source) Pearson Correlation .349 .660 .516 .622 .629 .652 .701 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 2565 2662 2685 2683 2682 2680 2556 2687
Group Effectiveness Pearson Correlation .445 .593 .679 .545 .497 .606 .535 .540 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 1781 1760 1781 1773 1772 1771 1764 1754 1781

Predictors of Group Effectiveness

The five facets of relational abundance do not all have the same power to influence group effectiveness. Results of a regression analysis show that three of the five facets – relationship to the group, the creative source, and relationship to the self – were significant predictors of group effectiveness (see Figure 4). Of these three, the group facet was the strongest predictor. Combined, these facets explain 42% of the variation in group effectiveness ratings, meaning that relational abundance alone drives a significant portion of group effectiveness.

Fig 4 050115a

Leadership Quality, Relational Abundance, and Group Effectiveness

In addition to the facets of relational abundance, leadership quality is also found to be a predictor of group effectiveness. When leadership quality is added into a regression model with relationship to the group, creative source, and relationship to the self, they explain 53% of the variance of group effectiveness (see Figure 5). Regression results reveal that leadership quality neither moderates nor mediates the relationship between relational abundance facets and group effectiveness. When leadership quality is added to the equation, relationship to self no longer contributes significant variance beyond what the other facets explain, suggesting that leadership quality may partially mediate the relationship to self.

Fig 5 050115a


Win a Free Audiobook of Ecosynomics

Audiobook_Icon_largeWin a FREE copy of the Ecosynomics audiobook!

Describe 3 groups that you know, using the Relational Abundance survey, and we will send you a free audiobook of Ecosynomics: The Science of Abundance.  Normally it is a US$24.94 value at

What you do

All you have to do is take the Relational Abundance survey 3 times ( in any one of ten languages available.  Your responses will be held confidential!

Take the survey three (3) times, describing your experience of:

  • First, the most energy-enhancing (highest vibrancy) group you know
  • Second, a group you are in at work or school
  • Third, your family or a group of friends

Once you have completed the survey, email me at info (at) or through my Contact page, letting me know you have described three groups.  I will then send you the discount code for getting your free copy of the Ecosynomics audiobook at the Vibrancy store.

How this contributes to our research

By sharing your confidential experiences, you are contributing to our research at the Institute for Strategic Clarity on the experience people have in groups, and how this experience is influenced by the underlying agreements in the group.  We will never share your specific responses with anyone.  It is confidential.  So far this research includes over 2,400 responses from 92 countries.  You can learn more about our initial findings here.

Guest post — Short Research Reflection on the Vibrancy Survey Data of Participants in The Synergy Forum Europe in Berlin 2014

Guest post by Adrian Wagner

The Synergy Forum Europe met December 12-14, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.  This was a first prototype to support a global movement of activism and entrepreneurship grounded in source awakening, unique emanation and collective synergy. Over the last yeaAW post 1r, several initiatives and ideas have let to the foundation of the Synergy Forum, with a great focus on how we can come as activists within a world in crises not from a place of scarcity but from a place of abundance, within all the struggles and difficulties experienced by global change makers, entrepreneurs, and activists.

Within this post, I highlight the level of vibrancy experienced by the people that are attracted to the Synergy Forum and how support for this level of perceived reality is reflected in the Synergy Forum’s value proposition.  We started by asking each participant to take the Vibrancy Survey.  Because they came from different backgrounds, each participant was asked to rate his own personal work experience at the moment.

The graphic below summarizes the group’s results for their experienced relationship to group wellbeing, leadership quality, self, other, group, process of innovation, and source of creativity.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-01-05 um 19.16.11

The significant variance experienced in the five primary relationships (self, other group, innovation, creativity) clearly reflects the diverse background of the group, since none work in the same company or project.  Even with this great diversity of experiences, the participants all shared the experience of high vibrancy in their relationship to the other and to the quality of leadership — this seems to me to be due to their high level of maturity.

The group results also showed a relatively low level of vibrancy experienced in their relationship to the source of creativity and process of innovation, suggesting they seem to be disconnected to these two relationships. Since the Synergy Forum’s goal is to reach out to an audience that is already engaged in the world and has certain experience with self-development, the rating within the areas of group well being and relation to self could be a first sign and indicator that we are reaching our imagined target market.

The lower level of creativity and innovation on the other hand might show what people are expecting from the Synergy Forum event. In fact the three-step process of “Source Awakening,” “Unique Emanation,” and “Collective Synergy” within the Synergy Forum events is designed to support people in recognizing the underlying source of creativity as well as how to use this source and give it a unique, innovative expression. The last step relates to how participants can work and build synergies when our source of creativity and each participant’s unique, innovative expression is discovered and owned. Therefore using the Vibrancy Survey helped to clarify, in a first step, the needs and qualities of our participants, which might help us for the next training to communicate the advantage and learnings within a Synergy Forum with greater precision.

Radio Interview on HV Survey Research

Past-cast Series — Seeing relevance in earlier publications

ISC President Jim Ritchie-Dunham was interviewed on the radio today (March 14, 2011) about the harmonic vibrancy survey research by John Schmidt, of the Global Transforming Ensemble.  You can download the 57-minute interview from John’s Internet-radio talk show ZOOM’D Leadership at (

Guest post — Invitation to Organizational Vibrancy with Maureen Metcalf

Guest post by Maureen Metcalf

[Note from Jim R-D.  ISC’s network of colleagues from around the world is finding many ways to engage you in the experience of vibrancy and outcomes of abundance.  This invitation comes from our colleague Maureen in Ohio.]

In this post, we invite you to experience greater organizational vibrancy and business results. We define organizational vibrancy and invite you to get involved by taking a vibrancy assessment. An understanding of vibrancy along with your assessment scores will support you in choosing agreements that allow you to flourish.

Mike runs a highly successful organization that has made significant progress against its strategic goals over the past 18 months. Now, the leadership team is looking forward to determine what they need to put in place organizationally (and what barriers they need to remove) to accomplish some very aggressive goals. To support this process, Mike asked the leadership team to take the organizational vibrancy assessment. Each leader provided an individual response and the data were synthesized to create an organizational picture from which he determined recommended organizational changes. These results are part of the next leadership off-site to plan for the upcoming year. The information gathered was very helpful in identifying very specific actions and will also help leaders revise how they look at organizational change. One of the most valuable elements of the vibrancy assessment is helping leaders change their paradigm about leading change to be more comprehensive.

Organizational Vibrancy – We know the positive feeling we experience in places we love to go, homes we enjoy visiting, conversations we relish. We call this experience of vitality “exuberance and flourishing community vibrancy.” People feel it and seek greater vibrancy, whether consciously or subconsciously, to guide their interactions with others. To enable organizations to attract and retain the best talent, and engage in the most effective business practices,  Jim Ritchie-Dunham, President and researcher at the Institute for Strategic Clarity and an adjunct researcher at Harvard, created a study to identify key factors that could help us improve our overall organizational vibrancy and outcomes. You can use the survey findings to guide your actions in improving your organizational vibrancy. This study is part of Dr. Ritchie-Dunham’s ongoing research, and is being offered at no cost to you, your organization, or participants in your organization.

Why Care? By understanding where your organization excels and where it falls short, you will be able to address challenges and build on your strengths to create more vibrancy and greater success. Our goal is to support vibrant, sustainable organizations that will attract and retain the best talent, and continue to build a sustainable community that will renew itself for the next 100 years and beyond.

Questions. If people care about the vibrancy they experience in an organization, and it is an attractor for business and talent, what are its characteristics? Can people discern higher and lower levels of it? What is the role of leadership in the experience of vibrancy in a group? Do all groups within an organization have access to this higher vibrancy or does it depend on the resources the group has?  Does this higher vibrancy lead to stronger, more sustainable outcomes?

What We See. Jim Ritchie-Dunham and the research team from the Institute for Strategic Clarity, including leaders from diverse disciplines, have surveyed over 1,400 individuals about the groups in which they participate. The survey participants and the data told an interesting story. In some of the groups, the survey participants experienced total scarcity, in others some scarcity and some vibrancy, and in still others they experienced deep vibrancy. They told us that in the groups where they experienced greater vibrancy, they also experienced a higher quality in the group’s leadership. They also shared that where they experienced greater overall vibrancy, they experienced a greater connection to five key elements:

  1. self
  2. others
  3. the group
  4. process of innovation
  5. source of creativity

The interesting and counter-intuitive finding is that these relationships are experienced at similar levels of health: when any relationship is strong, the others are also relatively strong, and when any relationship is weak, the other relationships are also relatively weak.

Implications. These findings fly directly in the face of prevailing theories of economics, where one relationship (e.g., the self, the other, the group, nature, spirit) prevails over all relationships. If there are, indeed, groups where people experience a deeper vibrancy, and these groups seem to have similar characteristics, what does this mean for how we engage in groups together? Can we, as an organization, identify these characteristics and the organizations that have them? How do we share best practices with other groups within the community to raise the overall community vibrancy measure? How do we create tools to help organizations within our community increase their vibrancy, as the drive to improved vibrancy will happen with one organization at a time?

How Will We Do This in the Long Term? We are just undertaking the data-gathering phase of this plan. After we have a comprehensive picture of the organizational vibrancy experienced across seven key dimensions, we will create a more concrete action plan with our clients. Our initial plan includes the following:

  • Gather data using the vibrancy assessment
  • Identify top performing organizations across multiple sectors (city and state government, business and nonprofit)
  • Create approaches for top performing organizations to share their best practices and tools
  • Create tools for medium and lower performing organizations that will allow them to become high performing organizations (the nature of the tools and method of sharing will depend on the survey results and interest among participants). We will ask for your input to determine what will best support your success.

Next Steps.  Invest 10 to 15 minutes to take the free survey.  If you are unable to click the link from this document, please cut and paste into your browser.

What You Get Back Personally.  For everyone who takes the online assessment, you will receive an online response that contains a spider chart of five key dimensions (relationship to self, other, group, process of innovation, source of creativity).

Follow-up Actions upon Study Completion. Jim Ritchie-Dunham has agreed to do the initial data collection and feedback at no charge to the participants. He will use this data to build his research database. Should you choose to take action after the data collection, we will formulate a proposal for next steps based on the survey findings and report feedback. There is no obligation to engage in follow-up work.

Maureen Metcalf, the CEO of Metcalf & Associates, is author of Innovative Leadership Fieldbook, an award-winner in the 2012 International Book Awards for Business: Reference Book.  Partnering with the Institute for Strategic Clarity, she brings the work of organizational vibrancy to groups in Ohio.

Guest post — 17 European Groups Living Into the Ecosynomic Paradigm – Initial Insights (#1 in a 4-part series)

Guest blog by Christoph Hinske, ISC Senior Fellow

In this series of 4 posts, I will share initial insights from research with 17 groups in Europe.  Covering seemingly different sectors (5 in business, 7 in civil society, 4 in global networks, 1 in academia), I find similar underlying patterns, innovations and dynamics in all of them.  My main diagnostic tool was the “Ecosynomics Survey of Harmonic Vibrancy” from the Institute for Strategic Clarity.  I was able to follow up on the survey with some of the groups, interviewing individuals, observing group processes, and offering workshops with selected members.  To protect their confidentiality, I changed the names of the groups.  While they are not all high-vibrancy groups, they all present interesting insights from an Ecosynomic perspective.

Figure 1 shows the general level of perceived Harmonic Vibrancy in each of the 17 different groups, using a scale of 1 to 5 for seven dimensions – the five primary relationships, the quality of leadership, and the group’s overall outcomes (group well-being).  These ratings are outputs from the 57-item Ecosynomics Survey of Harmonic Vibrancy, which you can take for free online.

Figure 1: Overview of diagnostic results from 17 European groups

Figure 1: Overview of diagnostic results from 17 European groups

As captured in Figure 1, some of the groups describe their reality as very vibrant and collaborative (depicted by the outer lines). Others describe their reality as more scarce and competitive (depicted by the inner lines).  While the results might seem very similar, since the lines are all very close and no group has very low levels of harmonic vibrancy, the practices, agreements, and outcomes are very different between low and high vibrancy groups.

In the early stage of this research, the similarities I have found have led to three initial insights: 

1) Similar outcomes and experiences

While the groups come from different sectors and cultures, they describe similar experiences and outcomes in their work.  When describing experiences of low harmonic vibrancy, the group members showed how the outcomes of their value-creation processes mostly met the industry standards. And, when describing experiences of high levels of harmonic vibrancy, they showed how their value-creation processes led to outcomes that exceeded industry standards.

2) Similar processes and structures

I started to find and identify reoccurring practices in groups describing similar levels of harmonic vibrancy. They range from having a radically different understanding of recruiting to innovative ways of organizing to letting go of standard leadership models, as well as structures that engage customers and employees at a very high rate.

3) Similar fundamental assumptions

Finally, I found that groups with higher levels of harmonic vibrancy start their interactions from a different set of fundamental assumptions. A friend and colleague of mine just teased me and said, “So do you propose that they are better or more advanced human beings? You know you should be careful with such an assumption, especially in the German context.” No, I am not proposing that. What I observe is that they are ordinary people, like you and me, doing very ordinary things – like writing project proposals to get funding. And, I observed that they start from assumptions of possibility and abundance rather than from scarcity and limitation.

I will frame each of these three insights and illustrate them with one of these cases in my subsequent blog posts.

Ecosynomics Findings Hold in 40 Countries, Norwegian, and Hindi

Screen Shot 2013-05-01 at 12.03.12 PM

The Harmonic Vibrancy survey seems to have two impacts on the people that have taken it.  It helps them reflect on their experience of the harmonic vibrancy and abundance in a set of relationships, and through the reflection they see the agreements they have entered, consciously or not, that influence that experience.  From this experience, they begin to see both the possibility of new agreements and possible pathways for entering them.

The results from the survey provide initial insights into two questions currently guiding our exploration of the world of Ecosynomics and harmonic vibrancy.

1) Is there a continuum of harmonic vibrancy experienced in groups?

We found that people describe very clear levels of abundance, harmony, and vibrancy they experience, from very low to very high.  This runs counter to the general experience people report of low vibrancy and scarcity in most groups.

2) Are the relationships one has to the self, other, group, nature, and spirit related to the group’s experience of harmonic vibrancy?

The data shows that where people experience strong relationships (i.e., with themselves, others, the group, nature, and spirit), they experience them in ALL of the relationships.  Additionally, where ANY of the relationships are weak (low harmonic vibrancy), all of the relationships are weak.

The data also shows that there are over 300 groups that report very high levels of relationship and harmonic vibrancy.  The Institute is exploring what makes them sustainably different.  This finding runs counter to the belief that higher levels of health come from focusing on one of these relationships first, the core assumption of economics.

Harmonic Vibrancy Umfrage

Wir freuen uns mitteilen zu können, dass Sie Ihre Erfahrungen zu Harmonic Vibrancy in Ihrer Gruppe nun auch in deutscher Sprache machen können.

We are happy to announce that you can now describe your experience of the harmonic vibrancy of your community through the survey in German.  Please send this to your German-speaking friends.

Citizen Science Is Working!

You have described some AMAZING groups! With 317 groups described in 20 countries, you have told us about groups that are fantastic to live and work in, and groups that are not.

We are getting clearer and clearer on why some are able to sustainably deliver much better results in a very humane way, while most others are not (for an initial explanation).

To participate in this multi-national citizen-based research, take the survey at ( Send it to your friends!

Follow us on Facebook (

Cuestionario de Vibración Armónica en Español (Harmonic Vibrancy Survey in Spanish)

Nos alegra mucho pedirles la descripción de la vibración armónica  de su comunidad con un cuestionario en español.

We are happy to announce that you can now describe your experience of the harmonic vibrancy of your community through the survey in Spanish!