Knowledge life cycle? LO26153

Date: 02/17/01

Replying to LO26137 --

>From the perspective of higher education, colleges are often thought of as
process cultures, according to Deal & Kennedy (Deal,T. E. & Kennedy, A. A.
(1982). Corporate cultures: The rites and rituals of corporate life.
Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.) I'm going to quote a section of my
dissertation that expands this notion. I don't know if this is what you
mean by process cultures, but it might provide a different perspective.

". . . higher education resembles what Deal and Kennedy (1982) called a
process culture. Deal and Kennedy proposed that the world of business
could be divided into four broad and not mutually exclusive categories:
(a) tough-guy macho culture; (b) work hard/play hard culture; (c)
bet-your-company culture; and (d) process culture. Deal and Kennedy
defined a process culture [1] as a world of little or no feedback where
employees find it hard to measure what they do; instead they concentrate
on how it's deon (1982, p. 108). They suggested that another term for
process culture taken to the extreme is "bureaucracy." Process cultures
are low-risk, slow-feedback environments that typically include heavily
regulated industries and service organizations. They are low-risk because
no one action is liable to make or break the organization. As a result,
there is little or no feedback, which forces employees to focus more on
how they do something, not what they do (Deal & Kennedy, 1982, p. 119).
They value technical perfection. Their tendency is to be protective and
cautious. In times of crisis, often the result of political whim,
employees tend to 'hunker down' and wait out the storm. Rituals in the
process culture focus on work patterns and procedures. An inordinate
amount of time is spent discussing process, especially if it involves any
kind of reorganization of the system. Titles and classifications become
more important than money, and the physical surroundings, such as office
size, sophistication of equipment,and furniture are very visible
indicators of one's position in the hierarchy. There is nothing
inherently good or bad about a process culture. They exist, as Deal and
Kennedy pointed out, because there are many functions society needs to
have performed reliably and accurately.Process cultures serve as a kind of
counterbalance to the other, riskier cultures. Good process
cultures,according to Deal and Kennedy, make sure the world wors (Deal
& Kennedy, 1982, p. 123). Process cultures, however, are no more immune to
change than any other culture,although it may take a process culture much
longer to respond. The attributes that contribute to a good process
culture's strength accuracy, reliability, emphasis on pss roceare the
very attributes that threaten its ability to adapt. Senge likewise noted
that emphasis on process as opposed to result is problematic for
organizations. "Focusing on the desired intrinsic result is a
is a sign of lack of discipline when thoughts about the process of
achieving our vision continually crowd out our focus on the outcomes we
seek. We must work at learning how to separate what we truly want from
what we think we need to do in order to achieve it." (Senge, 1990, The
fifth discipline, p. 164)

[Note: William Reckmeyer, a professor of leadership and systems at San
Jose State University, argues that what Deal and Kennedy call a process
culture is more aptly termed a procedure culture. Reckmeyer distinguishes
between two kinds of process. The first is process as a blind following of
procedures, what Deal and Kennedy call a "bureaucracy." The second is
process as a conscious refinement of work, or getting things done
effectively and efficiently, with attention to the subtleties and
humanities involved. ]

Harriett J. Robles


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