Harold Jarche – Organizational culture is an emergent property

Culture as far as I’m concerned, organizational culture, is an emerging property of all the things that people do together overtime, and then culture emerges. You can’t change culture, you can change how people do things and then a new culture may come up. You can make things more transparent, you can make things more democratic, and you have that. So the thing is that over a period of time these people working together have developed a different kind of a culture, and I’ve seen it where, I mean, it’s something as simple as tools, one type of tool works really well in a company and it doesn’t work that well in that other company at all. I’ve seen even in types of tools, where I worked with a group of social workers a number of years ago, this was quite a long time ago, eight, nine years ago. And they took to Wikis, before…, and this is eight nine years ago nobody was talking about Wikis, this is before Wikipedia.

And they took to Wikis like crazy and they were building things because they were writing a new governance structure for mental health in the province of Quebec. And so for them it was kind of it, it was very timeless and we’ve got all these hundreds of documents that we have to rewrite, how do we do it? And then they saw a Wiki and they went “Ooh” we just said and it was, so it was one of those neat things that worked pretty well. I have yet to see a company or an organization that has really adopted Wikis like they did eight nine years ago. So, definitely a cultural thing, and this was a, it was also a predominantly female group (I don’t know if that makes a difference) but I think that different tools, different techniques… I mean I had never ever used the same techniques twice with any organization. So, and that I think is a problem is that it’s good to have lots of tools in your tool box, its good to have lot of models like sometimes I use a human performance technology model.

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