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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Organizational Culture

Photo courtesy of Aimee C. Juarez
I drove up to the Epcot Center park gate and something seemed different. The parking lot looked worn and shabby, and a lone security guard was manning the gate. It’d been about four or five years since I’d last visited Epcot and I’d heard there was construction going on in the parks, but this stripped-down, gravelly, amusement-...
Tom Peters and other organization development luminaries consider culture a key element in sustainability and success.  There are many studies and books seeking to understand and provide models for organizational culture. Most are based on the analysis of successful organizations, like Apple and Google, extracting characteristics that might...
Photo courtesy of OregonLive.com
The belief that government must continue to be structured and must function in 2012 as it has in the past is a myth. There is much that public sector leaders can do to change their organizational culture, improve the quality of services they deliver, and become more efficient stewards of the public’s money. I would argue that one of the...
I first learned about appreciative inquiry in the late 1980s when David Cooperrider and Diana Whitney developed their model, echoing Maslow’s idea that we look at the successful rather than pathological examples to really be helpful to individuals and organizations. At that time the concept of excellence was shaking organizations and Covey...
Two of my daughters play volleyball. It’s a significantly more complicated version of the game I remember playing in gym class. It still involves six players on each side, but once the ball is served, the players move around the court in choreographed sprints that look fairly chaotic to the untrained eye. I seem to remember standing in my...
One of the most often repeated punch lines from Gallup’s famous Q12 survey of employee engagement is that employees join companies, but leave their immediate supervisor. In other words, people mostly talk about the company when asked what attracted to them to a particular job, but they mostly cite issues with their immediate manager when...
Agreements are the currency of human systems. Many agreements are implicit social or cultural conventions. We’re not really conscious that we’ve agreed to anything when we stop at red lights, for example, or when we allow people to exit the elevator before we enter. Other agreements are hard won and inconsistently implemented. When I...
Cuba imports cigars from him. He once had an awkward moment just to see how it feels. He is the only man to ever ace a Rorschach test. He once taught a German Sheppard how to bark in Russian. Do you recognize any of these lines? They're the product of a brilliant advertising campaign called "The Most Interesting Man in the World"...
I like to challenge. Not in a competitive sense, but in an inquisitive kind of way. No idea or ideology is safe near me. The status quo should tremble when I walk by. In fact, it would if it could. Naturally, when the subject of competition in an organizational setting arises, I feel moved to ask a few questions, like: What’s the purpose of...
Photo of Robert J. Marshak courtesy of American University
When people get together, a lot of things tend to go unsaid. These "things" typically include thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and assumptions about themselves, about other group members, or about the way the group engages. Organizational consultant Robert J. Marshak put that theory to the test several years ago during a workshop he...
Why do we all seem to be begging to belong today? Kids beg for iPhones. Connecting via text is still connecting. Just ask anyone. Striking a balance between being alone and being part of a group—a team, a club, or an organization—seems to be the seesaw of life. Rollo May once wrote, "Loneliness is such an omnipotent and painful...
Culture links people together. It does so, according to organizational theorist Edgar H. Schein, by allowing people to band together as a group and develop a unique set of beliefs and practices that are absorbed and accepted by all of its members. In time, the group’s beliefs and practices, which consist of shared assumptions, perceptions,...