…company culture, a concept pioneered by Edgar Schein, is the operationalizing of an organization’s values. Culture guides employee decisions about both technical business decisions and how they interact with others. Good culture creates an internal coherence in actions taken by a very diverse group of employees.
Some may believe that culture cannot be “engineered,” and that it just happens. It is true that culture happens whether you want it to or not. It is the DNA of the company and is in large part created by the founders – not by their words so much as their actions. So the very decision to not try to create a corporate culture, or worse, to not have company values, is in fact your choice of what culture will prevail – and not for the better.
“I came to see in my time at IBM that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game – it is the game. In the end an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”- Lou Gerstner (IBM CEO)
SOURCE Bill Aulet (TechCrunch)
Culture trumps Strategy
Organisational Culture - focus on what’s behind the behaviours, not the abstraction
I don’t think you can engineer culture; that makes it sound like cogs, rather than something organic.
…cultures are not created or defined by executives; they evolve around the people who make up a company.
- Jeff Stibel
Culture isn’t a thing, you can’t pick it up and move it over there…be aware of reification. I said something to this effect here:
…you can’t control culture as it’s emergent, you can only attack the interplay that surface’s that emergence
Of course I got this from Ralph Stacey thinkers, like Stephen BIllings:
If culture is a phenomenon that emerges from myriad interactions amongst organisational members, then it cannot be managed from outside as a whole. Instead, the top managers can only influence culture from within their own participation in interactions with others. Senior managers cannot design the culture that they want, nor can they engage other specialists to design the desired culture. They can only influence culture through their interactions with others. No wonder leaders say that communication is so important.
One way of intentional interplay is programs where the boss works on the floor for a day experiencing the in and outs of someone’s job. Another interplay is management monitoring and interacting on enterprise social networks like Yammer. Another way is spreading stories of what you want to see…here’s an example.
Something to think about:
A principle of emergence, ‘downward causation”, is that agent interactions emerge a whole eg people interacting make society/culture, and the whole in turn affects the agents eg society/culture affects people.