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Organizational Culture and Leadership, 5th Edition by Peter Schein, Edgar H. Schein

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15THE DIALOGIC QUALITATIVE CULTURE ASSESSMENT PROCESS

The dialogic qualitative approach to assessment is based on three crucial premises:

  1. The purpose of the assessment is to help the change leader make an assessment that will help move the change process forward.
  2. It is crucial that the change leader engage in an assessment process that will reveal the elements of the culture that bear on the change problem.
  3. It is not important for the outside consultant to understand the client’s culture, but the consultant must be very clear about the change implications of the assessment process itself.

Defining change targets does not tell the change leader what might be involved in the implementation of the change process itself. Will the cultural elements of the culture we have, the culture we have built, and the culture that is present today, help or hinder “the new way of working” that the change goals define? With the targets clearly in mind, the assessment process has to answer this fundamental question.

The change process does not begin at cultural ground zero; the organization has built a culture whose basic assumptions, its DNA, are the source of its success. The organization has probably also built up cultural elements that are now perceived to be a source of the problems that the change process is supposed to “fix.”

Because of the inevitable differentiation into various subcultures, it is likely that there are conflicts and tensions within the different units of the organization ...

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