Shapiro Raj Research Reveals Deeper Human Values Bridge Divide Of Societal Tensions

The Breakthrough Paradox Takes Pulse of the Nation and Explores Ways For Private Sector, Government & Individuals To Find Common Ground
Publish date:

CHICAGO, July 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Shapiro+Raj, one of the top 10 independent strategic insights and inspiration companies in North America, today released The Breakthrough Paradox .  The report reveals that while there are conflicts and tensions at the surface, Americans share deeper personal values. The conflict between "Individual Freedom" versus "Collective Benefit" was the tension identified as the most important to solve. Most Americans, 83 percent, value Individual freedom, yet 54 percent also value collective benefit. The overlap reflects a gradual shift in the recognition or reality of so many Americans falling behind and that the ideas need not be diametrically opposed.

These insights can uncover paradoxical truths of our society to find ways to solve current societal tensions - Zain Raj

Zain Raj, Chairman & CEO, Shapiro+Raj said: "We wanted to better understand the pulse of the nation and what we consider the true American identity. For our clients, the findings uncover significant potential for brands and businesses to align and connect deeply with the values that their consumers hold dearly. Ultimately, it's with these social and behavioral insights that we can uncover the paradoxical truths of our society to find ways to solve current societal tensions."

The survey findings showcase how personal vantage points influence our view of reality. While 34% have basic need concerns such as food, shelter, safety and security, 66% do not prioritize these issues and have difficulty acknowledging the severity of anxiety they cause. Tension grows when people struggle to see past personal bias based on their own "objective truth."

Cindy Tran, President, Shapiro+Raj said: "Cognitive biases affect everyone's thinking and decision-making. To make matters worse, social media and the 24/7 news cycle often focus on the soundbites rather than the deeper root causes. There's a real risk of our melting pot in the pursuit of the American Dream giving way to special interest groups intent on protecting individual interests to the detriment of others. However, what the report shows is that there are deeply rooted values we all share that can bridge the gap between the surface tensions, and that we all have a role to play in finding solutions that last ."

Additionally, the most meaningful difference between "stress and calm" and "optimism and pessimism" was not because of socioeconomic facts such as income or race, but from generational differences.

The survey explored 11 cultural tensions. Individual Freedom vs. Collective Benefit was the top concern, illustrated as "I don't want to be told what to do vs. society needs rules and cooperation to support everyone." Additional key findings include:

  • Among those who offered a solution to this conflict, the majority (55%) mentioned the need to come together to unite as one.
  • When asked to select among government, private sector, or individuals to resolve the conflict, only one in three believed the government was best suited. And, older citizens (42%) were twice as likely as young adults (17%) to trust the government to solve the conflict. More than half (57%) believe that the conflict is best resolved by individuals.
  • When specifically asked which sector or industry would be best suited to resolve the conflict, 38% of Democrats said the government is best suited and 32% of Republicans agreed. This finding is a strong signal that bipartisan action is both possible and expected.

The survey also found that brands are expected to take action to at least communicate their position. In fact, there is significant potential for brands and businesses to align and connect at the deep value level with people.

  • 72% like it when brands they purchase share a similar worldview; 42% prefer it, and 7% act on it.

About The Breakthrough ParadoxThe Breakthrough Paradox is Shapiro+Raj's signature thought leadership series, informed by insights and findings from a robust research study in the US. It aims to tackle these tensions head-on, and seeks to address some of the biggest questions of our time, such as:

  • What is the essence of the "American Identity" in today's world? What lies beneath the paradoxical truths on the surface?
  • How do these competing forces shape our attitudes and behaviors as consumers?
  • How can brands meaningfully connect with and address stakeholders' needs?

This ongoing research also aims to measure and track the holistic "health" of our nation over time, focusing on key indexes such as overall wellbeing, level of unmet needs along Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and satisfaction across different aspects in the Wheel of Life. This gives the broad context and holistic lens to examine deeper tensions.

The ultimate objective is to help spark transformative outcomes for brands and businesses, and for our society at large. Insights and foresights into these paradoxical truths are invaluable in helping companies and brands more meaningfully connect and serve their customers and consumers. They can even help guide broader changes at the national level via collaboration with the public sector.

Read the research:  

About Shapiro + RajShapiro+Raj is one of the top 10 independent strategic research and insights consultancies in North America. It has been purposefully built to help clients spark transformative outcomes for their brands and businesses. Our mission is to help Fortune 10-500 clients find new and different ways to grow in today's continually reshaping landscape. We have integrated social science principles with behavioral economics capabilities and extensive brand marketing experience to creatively connect the dots between what consumers and customers think, feel, say, and do. The results are commercially viable insights that open new pathways for growth. We are one of the Top 25 Most Innovative Research Companies and a Top Ten Strategic Consultancy, according to Greenbook's 2021 Global GRIT report. We are also a Nationally Certified Minority Business Enterprise. Headquartered in Chicago, the firm has offices in New York, Minneapolis, and Pune, India. For more information, visit

View original content:

SOURCE Shapiro+Raj