Organisation Culture: Getting it Right

The UK's Sunday Times, September 5, published an extract from my new book, Organisation Culture: Getting it Right. Here's what they printed (from Chapter 8):

Book Extract: Keep up with your company
Can culture be learnt? Naomi Stanford asks this question in an edited extract from her book, Organisation Culture

More than 40 years ago Edgar Schein of MIT Sloan School of Management made the point that the process of learning about an organisation "is so ubiquitous and we go through it so often during our total career, that it is all too easy to overlook it".

He continued with the observation that "there are constant resocialisation pressures" and these have an impact on the whole workforce. The pressures relate partly to the changes in society, partly to the flow of people into and out of an organisation, and partly to organisational decisions and choices.
This means that to function effectively within an organisation, all those who belong to it have to learn the culture and adapt as it changes. This is not surprising as culture develops through the interaction of people making sense of their world. To learn the culture well enough to fit in and get on, individuals have to demonstrate certain attributes. The most important are:

  • A commitment to develop links with others through the establishment of networks, coalitions and friendships;

  • Strong motivation and the skills to learn what is needed;
  • Astute situational awareness and responsiveness, which require insight, subtlety, intuition and an informed perspective;
  • The possession of values that match those of the organisation;
  • An ability to align personal knowledge, experience, values and sense of importance with the organisation's values, goals and plans.

Organisation Culture (Profile Books) is available post-free for £10.99 from The Sunday Times Bookshop on 0845 271 2134 or