Elasticity of culture

Not appreciating the elasticity of culture, ie

"...you can liken the culture of an organisation to an elastic band - you can stretch the culture to a different shape...... it will spring back to what it used to be, just like an elastic band......cultural change isn't something that will happen overnight, you've got to put the effort in and keep on putting the effort in for a long time for the cultural elasticity to wane..."

Paul Hampton, 2009

A healthy corporate culture is important for organisational performance. To improve performance it is easier to adapt and modify the positive elements of the current culture rather than trying to create a new or different culture. This can be linked to asking the following questions

- what kind of organisation do you want to be?

- what is the organisation's aspiration?

- what would the improved culture look like?

Remember:

"...culture is deep, pervasive, complex, patterned, and morally neutral..."

Edgar Schein, 2004

Furthermore,

"...culture is multidimensional, multifaceted phenomena, not easily reduced to a few major dimensions. Culture ultimately reflects the group's effort to cope and learn; it is the residual of a learning process. Culture......not only fulfils a function of providing stability, meaning, and predictability in the present but is a result of functionally effective decisions in the group's past..."

Edgar Schein, 2004

Most times you have to overcome your own cultural prejudices about the "right" and "wrong" way to do things.

Culture is essential for understanding the inter-group conflicts within the organisation, leadership within the organisation, how the organisation functions in relation to internal and external factors, its behavioural and attitudinal consequences, etc. The elements of culture revolve around what in the group is shared or held in common, such as the norms, values, behavioural patterns, rituals, traditions, assumptions, beliefs, communications, language, etc.

For any manager, especially a new one, the prerequisite for survival and success is to understand both the culture and the politics of the organisation.

 

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