Evaluating organizational culture LO13790

Francine Alexander (fjalex@tmn.com)
Sat, 31 May 1997 11:50:39 -0500

Replying to LO13673 --

Thank you all for your thoughts about evaluating organizational culture.
I wonder if changing the words to 'Discovering Organizational Culture',
would be a better representation of what Dave is trying to do with his
hierarchy? I assume that a discovering process is an early part of an
action orientation.

David Birren says:
>' The basic idea is that organizational culture begins with social
>values and both creates and is supported by the various operational
> and communication systems that exist in the organization.

Edgar Schein in 'Organizational Culture and Leadership' decribes how he
has moved from seeing values at the base of culture, to describiing
culture as patterns of shared underlying assumptions which are deep and
stable. Values,he believes, are discussable, negotiable, debatable.
Underlying assumptions are invisible and therefore,nonnegotiable. In my
work with organizations on issues related to cultural change, I would
agree. People are often capable of talking about the competing values at
play in their decisions.

Schein's model for working with culture involves using what I would call
'uncovering processes'. It involves a shared (insider/outsider)
examinination of artifacts, espoused values and underlying assumtions.
(see p. 17 and Chapter 8) Practitioner issues in working with culture are
reviewed well in this book. He talks about the insider/outsider issues,
and the insight/action continuum that Bob Williams referenced.

thanks, Fran Alexander


Francine Alexander <fjalex@tmn.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>