Culture, Edgar H. Schein
Introduction Culture resides in the deeper layers of teams and organizations, that we often refer to as the “undercurrent”. The “undercurrent” acts as a memory for the shared experiences of teams and organizations. Employees’ drives directly influence these experiences, but as such only have an indirect relationship with culture.
Everyone in an organization experiences the unwritten rules of its culture. They limit you in some areas and stimulate you in others. The success or failure of major developments heavily depends on knowing how that culture works.
Culture keeps teams and organizations on target, its primary function is stability. This function is valuable, but sometimes we still need to act differently. Don’t forget, culture is formed from experiences in the past and so it always tries to maintain the status quo of the past. The more a culture relies on the past, the less versatile its teams or organizations are.
Culture development A lot of research has been published about culture development. The American Edgar Schein, former professor at MIT Sloan School of Management, is the authority in this area. He is the author of various books, including his most well-known work Organizational Culture and Leadership. This is what he says about culture development:
”You can’t make culture, but it can develop if new ways of thinking, feeling and acting are promoted in the organization that work better than the old ways.”
This means culture is not changeable, but it can be developed. It is rooted in the past, so it always lags behind everyday life. Culture can develop through creating new experiences together. Awareness and knowledge can have a big influence on how a culture works and on ways to develop your team and organization.
Application in Spiral Drives™ We have developed a unique culture scan, that closely fits Clare W. Graves’ drives theory. The main culture items in the undercurrent of a team or organization are measured for each of the 7 drives. This measurement is available as part of the Collective drivesDNA™️.