Change Culture: When is Talking the Talk is Enough?
Changing culture with interventions can impart beliefs about collaboration that become self-fulfilling prophecies. Organisational culture (shared assumptions, values and norms) can facilitate collaboration. Culture can fill in the gaps in formal systems where collaborative actions cannot be measured and monitored. Put simply, organisational culture shapes what employees do when bosses aren’t looking.
No wonder, then, that failures of collaboration, such as those observed after mergers, or in the aftermath of too-rapid expansion through hiring, are often attributed to cultural factors. Conversely, cultures are often credited with the success of organisations that do particularly well at getting their employees to work together.
How do you change culture and create a culture of collaboration?
Can a culture that supports collaborative efforts be designed? One cannot simply mandate a particular set of assumptions, values or norms on the basis of authority, and expect them to persist.
Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to making common cultural assumptions stick: through shaping consequences of action (the “incentive-based approach”) and through shaping beliefs about what actions are appropriate (the “framing approach”).