CULTURE OUTCOME || PURPOSE DRIVEN CHANGEOrganization - Fabric The Organizational Conundrum of Culture & Structure

The Organizational Conundrum of Culture & Structure

Over the years, post numerous conversations and engaged debates, the answer to this question has never truly emerged. While engaging in vigorous debates, we have realized that while there appears to be a universal agreement on the presupposition that, culture is omnipresent and it plays a crucial role in shaping the manifestations of behaviors in organizations; we have rarely been privy to a consensus on what organizational culture really is, leave alone the point of view whether it can be changed or not.


While that has remained a fantasy, it cannot be overlooked that without having a true definition of culture, it is difficult to understand its connections to other key elements of the organization such as structure.


Its easily comprehensible that the focus on structures, is the result of the perceived ease of forming hierarchies and job layers and a focus on operational planning. The impact of culture emerges when one defines it as the “sense making process” of an organization which is a culmination of the jointly held beliefs and agreed upon interpretations about “what is”, and not past experience based “what it should be”.


Cultures carry meaning as it is the story that anchors people in an organization. It is a social control system that permeates all layers. In fact, it is worthwhile to look at culture as the organization’s “immune system”, that protects it from threats from onboarding people who are not best suited to thrive within that specific environment, and difficulty in moving away from, the age-old mental models that at times forms the biggest barrier to change.


Having experienced the sudden emergence of fluidity in the world that businesses exist today, the CEO needs to take a stand on where the effort needs to be channelized; either in Identifying and establishing a culture that propels people in the intended direction, or invest time and energies in building structures that could expose a soft underbelly of fragility in times of fluidity.

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