Monday, January 12, 2009

Organizational Cultures

I am drawn to the work by Edward Schein of the importance that understanding of the cultures within an organization plays in development of that organization. Being aware of the behaviors, artifacts, actions, beliefs and especially language of multiple cultures that may be present seems key to understanding how members might best function. Organizational development is not possible without consideration of what it is that makes the people within the organization. Their motives for what they do are crucial to working with them and knowing what to expect.

The discussion in the readings about Gareth Morgan's philosophy of there being no right or wrong is consistent with Chris Argyris' view of double-loop learning. Single-loop learning requires a pre-existing assumption to learn. No preconceived notions or set of assumptions exists for double-loop learning. The varying existence of realities changes withing differing cultures making any assumptions a stumbling block at understanding cultural needs.

I am also very interested in the overlapping discussion of metaphors being crucial to understanding cultures in organizational development and leading learning organizations. The use of metaphor and analogy is a central theme in the readings done in Dr. Hall's class and in the understanding of cultures. The metaphor as a tool for describing the indescribable is powerful. I think of how the metaphor simplifies the thought process and reels in complicated and abstract concepts into chewable pieces. The use of analogy, as I understand it, is more precise; best used for exacting explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge works best with metaphor.

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