Friday, January 18, 2013

Analyzing Organizational Culture - Part 2

In this post, I want to provide some background for upcoming posts on a different way to analyze and change organizational culture.

Organizational Culture has been analyzed from many angles throughout the past 4 decades.  Many fine instruments have been developed to assess organizational culture and they have met with varying levels of success.

Some examples include:
  1. Organization Based Self-Esteem
  2. Organizational Commitment
  3. Organizational Climate
  4. Organizational Citizenship
  5. Employee Engagement
  6. Organizational Health
  7. Perceived Organizational Support

Each of these Organizational Analyses (with the exception of Organizational Health - Patrick Lencioni's latest book) focus primarily on the individual employee.  In other words, they ask employees about their level of commitment, the sense of self-esteem obtained through participation in a given organization, and the amount of effort they are willing to expend (Citizenship) based on how the organization treats them (Climate).   Perceived Organizational Support delves into an employees' perception of how the organization assists them in their quest to do good work.

But Organizational Culture is about the organization - not the individual. 

Organizational culture is the way we collectively 'do things around here', and thus organizational culture must be managed at the organizational level.  Some tools have been developed to assess the culture at a higher level - to decipher the ways organizations group together.  Some of this material is based on anthropology or how people develop clans. Other approaches look for the predominant 'personality' of a culture.  While the approaches are interesting from an academic perspective, in my experience executives have little patience for oblique academic terms or 'cute' phrases.  They want results.

I'll repeat what I mentioned in the last post: "Culture is about how we get things done."  
  1. How do we share information?
  2. Do we perpetuate silos between teams?
  3. Do we allow hierarchy to reign over common sense?
In the coming posts, I'll talk more about focusing on key elements of culture that get to the heart of how organizations get things done. 

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