Externally Facing or Internally Facing? Flexible or Stable?
It’s not unusual to speak of corporate or organizational culture. I’ve been thinking how that idea applies to the living web, to social networking in particular. We are building the web and the web cultures each day as we build our relationships.
Culture is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors shared by a group of people. Culture is the behavior that results when a group arrives at a set of – generally unspoken and unwritten – rules for working together. Susan Heathfield
The chart below shows the cultures that result from the environmental needs and strategic focus of the people who form them. The four cultures described form around internal or external focus and the need for flexibility or stability.
Where would you put social networking on this chart?
Are You Adaptable or Have You Joined a Clan?
Though stability might be a goal of the web culture, few would argue that we’ve reached it. Flexibility seems a given in order to survive as we build out this dynamic environment. That puts us firmly in the two cultures on the left of the chart above — the adaptability culture and the clan culture.
The Adaptability Culture is outward facing. The focus in this group is on serving all of their stakeholders, especially customers and people who offer new ideas. This culture welcomes risk that leads to growth. People of an adaptive care deeply about people create value and processes that lead to positive change. This culture can move quickly, innovate, and rewards creativity.
Could Twitter be an adaptability culture?
The Clan Culture is inward facing. The focus is on serving those who are a part of the clan. The purpose of participation and involvement are to meet changing needs from the environment. This culture places high value on cooperation and consideration for all stakeholders. Status differences are minimized. Treating others well is rewarded. This culture moves to support the group’s needs.
Will Plurk’s Karma destine it to grow into a clan?
All four cultures have validity and success stories behind them. The object is to match the values, the people, and the environment. Personally, I want to stay fimly footed in the blue square, visiting the others as I might have the need.
Consider the social networks you know. Are they adaptability cultures or are they clans?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!
[Chart based on Toward a Theory of Organizational Culture and Effectiveness by Denison and Mishra via Understanding Management by Daft and Marcic]