Cultural Creators & Re-Enforcers

Remember: the 6 primary mechanisms are cultural creators and the 6 secondary mechanisms are cultural re-enforcers; the latter are

"...less powerful, more ambiguous and more difficult to control..."

Edgar Schein, 2004

In a young organisation, the initial leadership impact on developing the culture will be immense by using mainly the primary, culture-creating mechanisms. On the other hand, once an organisation has matured and stabilised, the primary mechanisms developed by the initial leadership could end up restraining future letters who may want to change the organisation, ie

"...the likelihood of new leaders becoming cultural change agent declines as the organisation matures. The socialisation process then begins to reflect what has worked in the past, not what may be the primary agenda of the new leadership..."

Edgar Schein, 2004

It is important that the primary and secondary mechanisms, and all elements within each mechanisms, are aligned and consistent to build up the organisational ideologies and to formalise what is informally taken for granted. If they are inconsistent, they become a source of internal conflict, or become the basis for sub-cultures and/or counter-cultures and the secondary mechanisms will be ignored in preference to the primary mechanisms,.

The secondary mechanisms resemble the cultural artifacts that are highly visible but may be difficult to understand without insider knowledge obtained from observing the organisation's and leader's actual behaviours. Behaviours are more important than what is written down or inferred from visible designs, procedures, rituals, stories or published philosophies (for more details see "common management errors"in Volume 1)

 

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