organizational culture and communications styles maria simpson, ph.d. egalitarian incubator culture: fulfillment flat hiera

Organizational Culture and Communications Styles
Maria Simpson, Ph.D.
Egalitarian

Incubator Culture: Fulfillment
Flat Hierarchy
Focus on individuals results in avoiding, accommodating, compromising
and collaborating to maintain relationships
Little or informal hierarchy may result in more collaboration than
competition, especially for leadership status
Competition may be for resources or self-development, not for status
Guided Missile Culture:
Project
Highly Competitive Within Groups
Temporary relationships based on tasks and outcomes create highly
competitive group environments
Collaborate and compromise to reach the goal, not maintain
relationships
Accommodating or avoiding will make you appear weak in supporting your
goals
Person
Task

Family Culture: Person
Status Levels Clearly Defined
High status people:
Engage in highly competitive behavior with little compromise or
accommodation for others
Low status people:
Accommodate the leader’s wishes to maintain relationship
Avoid conflict with those far above to get along and gain favor
Compromise to avoid challenging leadership
Compete only with people near their own status to move up in the
hierarchy
No system for disagreeing
Eiffel Tower: Role
Power and Authority Ascribed to Roles
High status people:
Make all decisions and rules (compete)
Little compromise acceptable
Low status people:
Comply with the rules
Accommodate or avoid disagreements
Disagreements are challenges to the system, not the person, and are
considered highly competitive behavior
Disagreements are addressed through formal complaint systems
Hierarchical
Maria Simpson, Ph.D.
[email protected]
www.mariasimpson.com
Dr. Maria Simpson is an organizational consultant specializing in
executive coaching, and team and leadership development. Her goal is
to bring the skills and techniques of mediation into the workplace,
improve conflict resolution skills to reduce the fear of disagreement,
and increase the productive and creative outcomes of organizational
conflict.
As an executive coach she works with organizational leaders to help
them define their roles and develop management communications and
leadership skills. As a team coach, she has worked to improve team
collaboration and decision-making. As an OD consultant, she has
designed projects that create organizational change and include
methods of conflict resolution as part of the process.
Since 2003 Dr. Simpson has written a weekly email on management
communications and conflict resolution called “Two Minute Training”
and speaks frequently on the topics of management communications and
conflict resolution. She is a mediator for the Los Angeles County
Superior Court, and now serves on the boards of directors of the South
Bay Center for Dispute Resolution and NEAS: Western, an EAP provider.
Dr. Simpson received her Ph.D. from New York University, has held a
variety of senior management positions, and teaches communications and
conflict resolution at CSUDH in the graduate program on Negotiation,
Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding. Among her clients are Kaiser
Permanente, Bank of America, Easter Seals Southern California, and
Toyota Financial Services USA.
* * *
For a more extensive exploration of the connection between
organizational culture and communications style, go to
www.mariasimpson.com and click on Organizational Culture to get a
complete table of contents for Is This a Good Fit? The Connection
Between Organizational Culture and Communications Style.
This white paper synthesizes established concepts of culture and
communications, and creates a new approach to organizational
understanding. (The cultural models are from Riding the Waves of
Culture by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, and the communications
model is based on the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument.)
Using a case study, the white paper first explores the definition and
models of organizational culture, and includes examples of each type.
Then, conflict and communications styles are discussed, especially
which styles work best in which cultures, and how these styles impact
all aspects of organizational functions. In addition, the implications
of this level of understanding on benefits, performance, and
organizational values, among others, is demonstrated. Finally, there
is a detailed analysis of the case study, and tips on how you can
apply the concepts and insights to your own organization.
For those in Organizational Conflict Resolution or mediation,
understanding organizational culture as the context for conflict can
help resolve employment disputes and team conflict. For those in OD,
this information will help you design projects and processes that will
fit well and will be successful in your culture. For those in HR, this
information will add another layer of understanding to hiring and
evaluating employees.

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