Patterns in Company Culture

There is a really interesting approach to analyze, describe and finally transform company. For all the inspiration on this I have to thank Detego which is a Hamburg based change management consultancy. They adapted a consulting approach based on Beck/Cowan's Spiral Dynamics that they are using with clients.

In very simple words Spiral Dynamics describes the value systems of the different stages of human development from survival and kinship to integrative and holistic thinking patterns that have emerged and are still emerging nowadays. The spiral stands for the chronological evolution from survival up to holistic.

This concept can be a foundation for the transformation on an organizational level. With a specific survey the culture of a company can be measured and linked to the spiral themes. Most likely the outcome will be a mix of different systems on the spiral. The intention should be to move up the spiral to the so called second tier themes Systemic-Integrative and Holistic.


Theme

Value

Decision Making\*

Education\*

TOURQUOISE = Holistic

Sacrifice self interest to bigger whole

Blend natural flows, look up/downstream, plan for long range, life gets spoils

Access to world, blend feelings & tech, bring past to life, maximize brain

YELLOW = Systemic-Integrative

Live one's potential, no harm to others

Highly principled, knowledge centered, resolved paradoxes, competent gets spoils

Becomes self-directed, whole-day package, tuned to interests

GREEN = Communitarian

Belonging & Harmony

Reach consensus, all must collaborate, accept any input, communal get spoils

To explore feelings, shared experiences, social development, learn cooperation

ORANGE = Achievist, prosperity

Competes for success

Bottom-line results, test options for best, consult experts, successful win spoils

Experiments to win, High tech – high status, how to win niches, mentors and guides

BLUE = Purposeful-authoritarian, truth

Believes in the right way

Orders from authority, do right – obey rules, adhere to tradition, righteous earn spoils

Truth from authority, traditional stair steps, moralistic lessons, punishment for errors

RED = Egocentric-exploitive, power

Conquers and wins

Tough-one dictates, what gets respect, what feels good now, powerful grab spoils

Rewards for learning, tough-love tactics, work on respect, controlled freedom

\*from Beck/Cowan, Spiral Dynamics 1996 and 2006, p.332

Let's take a moment and look at Sun's culture from this perspective. I believe we had a strong conviction and belief in our way of being open, doing open source, being an innovation leader, competing against the bigger players in the market, those who lock customers in, etc. (remember the fun that Scott used to make of certain of our competitors during his time as CEO) which is an aspect of BLUE (high sense of purpose, believing in the cause).

That element created a lot of common values, there was a strong element of “standing together”, a strong identification with the company and it's products, teaming up was valued a lot and then we were very consensus oriented which all could characterize the Sun culture having a strong GREEN (communitarian) element.

The Sun culture will soon be merged with the Oracle one. From a global perspective I am really curious to see more holistic patterns appear in our lives, using collective human intelligence to work on large scale problems without sacrificing individuality. I strongly believe that this is what our world needs and it is good to see it is emerging.

Company Culture, Spiral Dynamics, Change, Sun, Organization Development    Bookmark and Share<script type="text/javascript" src="http://s7.addthis.com/js/250/addthis_widget.js#pub=xa-4acf48a96ed9b806"></script>
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