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Contradicting views on future of corporate culture
Extract from strategy+business – Paul Michelman:
I’ve seen two strong theories about the future of corporate culture recently. Both are compelling, and each comes to a very different conclusion. In other words, we have all the ingredients for a debate.
The first argument: Many variations of culture should exist within an organization.
Of all the topics you might expect Eric Ries to riff on, corporate culture does not immediately spring to mind. Ries is the author of The Lean Startup and an expert on entrepreneurship and product development. As he argues it, the link between innovation and culture is hard to ignore. If companies—particularly large and mature ones—expect to adopt the sustainable approaches to innovation that Ries believes are critical to their survival, they need to forget about having a consistent set of norms across the full enterprise. Instead, they need strong cultures for their various professional functions.
Ries’s argument about culture derives from his larger belief that different functions in the organization require different forms of management. The part of the organization that develops new products and launches new lines of business, for example, should not be held to the same set of standards as units that manage mature and stable lines. The same should be true of their cultures.
According to Ries, a healthy innovation-focused culture will …
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