Honoring our Clients by Being Flexible and Adaptable
Part 3 of a 5 Part Series - Cultural Dimensions and Measures
To succeed with our clients culturally, we need to be aware of when we are entering a different culture. In the previous blog we noted that "CapTechers must always consider both the critical content of a particular solution but must also measure how best to deliver a solution in a given culture." It naturally follows that we look beyond the need to measure to what exactly we are measuring. After reading this blog, you should be able to add some structure to this notion of culture and know what to measure within a culture to help you succeed culturally with our clients.
Cultural Dimensions and Measures
Inherent in a culture are certain, non-explicit, unexpressed expectations that a CapTech consultant must exhibit. Thus a consultant's fit is more felt or loosely interpreted than directly expressed. The subjective evaluation of cultural fit becomes more concrete when you look at the components of culture as opposed to subjective evaluation alone. Denison and Mirsha (1995) identified four key dimensions of culture which are adaptability, mission, consistency, and involvement. Within these dimensions are 12 cultural measures: project authorization, project teamwork, project human resources, project culture construction, project internal control, project risk management, project reform and innovation, project customer-oriented, project governance, project objectives vision, project core values, and project responsibility (Zeng, Jin, Guo, Zhang, 2015).
Denison and Mirsh (1995) used the dynamics and components of culture to understand how corporate culture relates to organizational effectiveness. For our purpose as CapTechers, the goal is to be aware of these dynamics so that we best know how to successfully operate in our client's environment.
For the purpose of this discussion, let's focus on the four dynamics of culture. Denison and Mirsh (1995) note that "consistency and mission, are indicators of integration, direction, and vision, and were better predictors of profitability" (p. 204). Consistency within a project helps one understand the internal cultural practices, authority and reward systems, and the risk appetite of the client. An awareness of this component helps the CapTech consultant avoid exhibiting behaviors within the team that can be a distraction to the goals of the project. Mission, as it relates to culture, refers to the degree to which the overall objectives of the mission are formed, adopted, measured, and reported. This helps a CapTech consultant understand the reach of the project within the organization so as to anticipate governance requirements.
Denison and Mirsh (1995) also note that "… involvement and adaptability, are indicators of flexibility, openness, and responsiveness, and were strong predictors of growth" (p. 204). Involvement highlights the degree of input the project team has when making decisions about the project, the amount of comradery within the team, and the overall value of the team within the organization. Understanding the level of involvement of the project team helps the CapTech consultant know the boundaries of decision-making as it relates to the team's authority. Finally, adaptability refers an understanding of how the team you are working with responds to changes in work assignments and the degree to which the team can take risks and innovate. This will help you understand the amount of creative license acceptable in your client's environment.
Think about how we can best leverage these cultural dimensions and measures to prepare CapTechers to enter a client's environment well. How can we use Big Data, like we use CapTech personality profiles, to source information for these cultural measures to help us objectively understand our client's culture better? Aside from feeling you are not a good fit, do you believe knowing these cultural dynamics better prepares you to adjust to a particular culture?
Next Blog: Honoring Our Client's Culture
Denison, Daniel R., and Aneil K. Mishra. "Toward A Theory of Organizational Culture and Effectiveness." Organization Science 6.2 (1995): 204-223. Business Source Complete. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
Zeng, Y., Jin, M., Guo, C., & Zhang, Z. (2015). Research on evaluation of enterprise project culture based on denison model. Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 8(3), 909-927. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/jiem.1400
About The Author
Shawn Saulsberry is a Management Consultant with more than 20 years of experience in technology strategy and delivery across the entire software development lifecycle. He acts as a technology liaison driving direct connections between an organizations business goals and the outcomes of technology programs and projects. Shawn is proficient in technology strategy formulation and implementation, project management in the technology and creative environments, management of research and development and the innovation processes, technology transfer in the global economy, and various applications of technology management.