Deciding & Achieving > Management Culture > Culture in Organizations > Cultures of Neglect

Cultures of Neglect

«Start where you are!» is an easy if awkward rule of life. The starting point for incoming new management is often an unattended culture, either chaotic or listless; or a frustrating bureaucratic culture.

The Unattended Culture

The minimum requirement for survival of any business is coping with crises. So pragmatic incoherent responsiveness is the culture of any unattended organization.

In business, when the pressure for results is off, the organization becomes more sensitive to people and it moves up the Y-axis i.e. it operates in a disjointed incremental fashion and becomes self-serving.

As the pressure for results increases, management becomes initially opportunistic, and then more driven and dynamic as it moves out along the X-axis.
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In public sector agencies, pragmatic cultures are the norm, but here they can usually avoid being too pressured because their income and existence are permanently secured. These organizations also commonly stagnate in a version of disjointed incrementalism.
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The Culture of Officialdom

Government officials often act on behalf of politicians as "headquarters" for large agencies like the prison service, social security or health service. They are unable to take direct action themselves, but are still expected to handle issues. (Something similar may apply to HQs of holding companies and multi-nationals.)

Ministers of State, hounded by failures and incompetence (inevitable with political initiatives in pragmatic cultures) demand that their officials somehow force subsidiary agencies to improve performance and avoid cock-ups.

The result is…

The inflexibility and inappropriateness of reactive regulatory arrangements devised far away and long ago worsens the situation and increases political pressure. In response, top officials move both up and down the systematizing diagonal towards:

Be clear about what drives change.

Originally posted: 17-Jun-2011

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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