Organizational Culture


Carsten Busch

“One of the most important elements of “building’ a desired culture is to create a climate where it is allowed to make errors. We all do, and we must learn from them. It is important that leaders stand for their people, also when they make mistakes. Loyalty goes both ways!” (p. 158)

“Culture is a side-effect of social interaction. Culture changes through interaction and NOT through attitude campaigns (…) Neither should you let consultants run the process. Do things yourself. Culture changes are often set in motion top down, but in general these things work bottom up.” (p. 50)

“An important aspect of this definition is the non-normative character of culture. Culture in itself is neither positive nor negative. It is what it is because it has been useful - at least so far.” (p. 26)

“We sure can find organizational preconditions that increase the likelihood of failure, just as we can identify organizational preconditions that increase the likelihood of success. But these preconditions alone are often not sufficient. Complexity is an important factor. Unexpected and previously unknown interactions do play a role, and often an important role.“ (p. 44)

“Deming told us that copying without knowledge and understanding of principles is a problematic thing to do, and already Lewis Deblois warned about this in 1926.” (p. 71)

“It is not only about superior parts; to create superior results it is most of all a matter of having parts that fit together and function together.” (p. 76)

“While “attitudes” are found in the heads of people, one finds that “culture” is something that happens between people. Culture can even get us to abandon our own attitudes”. (p. 77)

“People tend to speak in terms of organisations having “a” safety culture. This suggests that the culture within that organization is homogenous. That one will find the same elements everywhere within that organization. Everyone should be able to confirm from personal experience that this rarely will be the case.” (p. 84)

“Most people come to work to do a good job. Not to screw up and cause accidents. If they do something that seems odd (or even unsafe) to the observer, this observer should explore why it makes sense to the people there and then, given their knowledge, resources, conflicting objectives, and priorities. That means trying to understand their local rationality, rather than judging them for not caring enough.” (p. 134)

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